Ovens and Murray grand final crowd numbers plummet due to rain

Liana and Ty Hodge, 6.

Liana and Ty Hodge, 6.

THE ground sunk underfoot at the Lavington Oval on Sunday, as a small crowd of dedicated supporters braved the rain to watch the Ovens and Murray League grand finals.

Grassy hills slowly turned to mud and an array of colourful umbrellas popped up as the rain persisted.

It wasn't the sunny September finals weather players and spectators had become accustomed to.

The rain eased at the start of the A-grade netball, but it was too late to draw a crowd.

About 4100 spectators walked through the gate, less than half of last year's 10,000.

Lavington footballer Matthew Sharp's support crew stood out in the crowd.

His girlfriend, Kayla Tait, set up her gazebo on the concrete steps leading to the hill.

“We've got signs for him and for the netballers too,” she said. “I had to bring a shelter because this is the best place to view the game.”

Sharp's sister, Hannah, also rugged up beneath the portable shelter.

“We come down every year when Matt plays,” she said.

It was a successful day for Yarrawonga which took home the reserves and thirds football, along with the A and B-grade netball.

Albury Tigers won the seniors football 71-31 over Lavington, while North Albury bagged a premiership in the C-grade netball.

Ovens and Murray Football Netball League general manager Sean Barrett said the weather had been “frustrating”.

“I think we play a winter sport and have been very fortunate over last 10 to 20 years,” he said.

“You can’t control that weather, we prefer to worry about things we do have control over.”

Despite an off-year from Mother Nature, Mr Barrett said finals were always a good community event.

He said those who did turn out saw a display of the region’s best sports people.

“We certainly punch well above our weight for a regional centre, the standard of sport is fantastic, even today in trying conditions we have been lucky to witness such a high standard,” he said.

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