Round 10 of the Oilsplus South West Rugby Competition saw the Young Yabbies hosting the Cootamundra Tri-Colours at Cranfield Oval for the inaugural Ben Smith Memorial Trophy match. The weather was pretty cool on the day, but the atmosphere was electric!
Following the Round 3 clash that saw the Tri-Colours run away with the game during a 15 minute lapse in the Yabbies’ concentration, the Yabbies were adamant to not replicate that result on their home turf.
There was a real air about the ground with players on both sides looking to honour their former teammate Ben Smith. Yabbies’ President Cec Finley read out a moving tribute from Ben’s widow Rachel who unfortunately couldn’t make the inaugural game that really set the scene for the game.
The game was high pressure from the kick-off, with neither team prepared to give an inch. An opportunistic early penalty saw the Yabbies make their way deep into Tri-Colours territory. A “not-straight” throw at the line-out helped the Tri-Colours breathe a sigh of relief, but a big effort from the Yabbies’ pack saw them win a tighthead scrum, with Scrumhalf Ned Mullany seizing the opportunity to go to the poorly defended blindside and crashing over the line for the first try of the match. Conversion unsuccessful by James Schiller.
Young 5-0 Cootamundra
With the pace set early on, the crowd knew they were in for an afternoon of entertaining Rugby. A shorter kick-off by the Tri-Colours saw them regather the ball from the kick-off and launch their offense at the Yabbies. The Yabbies stood strong, with their defence again being highlighted by big hits and good line speed. After repeat phases and strong running from the Tri-Colours, it was Darryl Hemopo who finally cracked the Yabbies defence to cross the line for Coota’s first try. Conversion successful by Matt Berkrey.
Young 5-7 Cootamundra
The next 10 minutes saw both sides throwing their all into defence, with both the Tri-Colours and the Yabbies holding out wave after wave. An opportune penalty saw the Tri-Colours make their way in the Yabbies Red Zone. Some quick ball and hard-running from the Tri-Colours saw the Yabbies defence scrambling, but very much holding their own. Then a quick ball to Darryl Hemopo saw him seize another opportunity to cross the line for his, and Coota’s, second try of the match. Conversion successful by Matt Berkrey.
Young 5-14 Cootamundra
The intensity of the game was really starting to have an impact late in the first half, with players on both sides starting to really blow. A penalty against the Tri-Colours saw the Yabbies heading towards the corner with a line-out. Clean ball off the line-out provided options for a crash ball out wide, with the forwards looping around to continue the roll-on. After several phases, the Irish recruit Kevin McLaughlin seized an opportunity to test the Coota defence, crashing over for the Yabbies’s second try. Conversion unsuccessful by James Schiller.
Young 10-14 Cootamundra
With less than 10 minutes left in the half and some already sore bodies, the action was still showing no signs of slowing up. The Tri-Colours hit back hard off the kick-off, keeping the Yabbies pinned in their own half. A penalty from the ruck phase saw the Tri-Colours take the option to maintain and extend their lead by taking a shot at goal. Penalty goal successful by Matt Berkrey.
Young 10-17 Cootamundra
The Yabbies returned the favour with some big hits at the kick-off seeing them take control of the ball. Quick, clean ball from the Yabbies ruck phase saw the Coota defence scrambling as the Yabbies pushed deeper into the half. Quick service from Scrumhalf Ned saw a textbook draw and pass technique used to give Nick Schiller the opportunity to cross the line right in the corner. Conversion unsuccessful by James Schiller
Young 15-17 Cootamundra
The remaining few minutes of the first half saw both teams slugging out just inside the Yabbies half before a handling error resulted in half-time.
Young 15-17 Cootamundra
With the game still very much in the balance, you could only imagine how intense the half-time pep talks would have been from the coaches!
The second half started off as firey as the first, with the Tri-Colours proving to be the hungrier side early on. Some slick back moves saw Matt Berkrey cross the line for the first try of the second half. Conversion successful by Matt Berkrey.
Young 15-24 Cootamundra
The Tri-Colours remained relentless, finding themselves back in the Yabbies red zone within 5 minutes. Some hard running and quick ball from the Tri-Colours tested the Yabbies defence, with Mitchell Coleman finding a weakness and crashing over for the Tri-Colours fourth try of the match. Conversion successful by Matt Berkrey.
Young 15-31 Cootamundra
With some solid momentum having built already in the half, the Tri-Colours found themselves once again piggy-backed into the Yabbies red zone from some ruck-time infringements. The Yabbies defence stood strong, holding out the repeated attacks from Coota. Mitchell Coleman fancied himself another meat pie, and saw the only hole was through the ruck, so over he jumped and crashed over the line untouched. Conversion successful by Matt Berkrey.
Young 15-38 Cootamundra
With less than 20 minutes left in the game, the Tri-Colours looked like they were going to run away with the match. Some solid runs saw the Tri-Colours marching the Yabbies backwards again, with Kade Burgess finally finding a way to crash over the line for the Tri-Colours’ sixth try of the match. Conversion successful by Matt Berkrey.
Young 15-45 Cootamundra
With 15 minutes left on the clock, the Yabbies re-awoke and started to really test the Coota defence once again. Some pick and go’s off the back off the ruck and some quick ball from Ned Mullany saw Jesh Smith crash over the line and find the only bit of grass ahead of him not covered by Coota bodies or hands. Conversion successful by Owen Griffiths.
Young 22-45 Cootamundra
The renewed energy in the Yabbies saw them find an opportunity to get back deep into the Tri-Colours’ half with only minutes to go. Some big runs and quick ball saw an opportunity out wide, which Owen Griffiths grabbed with both hands, crossing the line for the Yabbies’ fifth try. Conversion successful by Owen Griffiths
Young 29-45 Cootamundra
Full Time Result Young 29-45 Cootamundra
Whilst there was a solid fight back from the Yabbies in the final 15 minutes, it was all “too little, too late” in terms of trying to get the win. The post-match event saw the two teams mingle together in front of the crowd for the inaugural presentation of the Ben Smith Memorial Trophy by Bruce Smith, Ben’s father. The Tri-Colours’ Captain handed over the receival duties to “Morto”, who was one of Ben’s best mates, which you can only imagine the meaning that this would have for him.
Coach Ned’s comments from the game were, “We still seem to be going from strength to strength. The boys should be very proud of their performance against the benchmark team in this competition, I can guarantee that the scoreline felt a lot closer on the field. We have a couple of issues that we need to work on, probably our biggest being discipline at the breakdown which is what provided Coota with some great opportunities to get us on the back foot and march us down the field. Whilst our defence managed to keep the scoreline a lot more civil than in our Round 3 clash, we still had the same issue with a bit of a concentration lapse for about 15 minutes in which they stacked on their tries in the second half. I’m not sure how we do it, but if we can find what it is that we have been doing to be able to flick that switch to stay on for the whole 80 minutes, we should get some good, solid results out of these last 4 rounds of the competition before the Finals.”
Ned Mullany, Kevin McLaughlin, Nick Schiller, Jeshua Smith, Owen Griffiths
Conversions 2/2 – Owen Griffiths 0/3 – James Schiller
Tries Darryl Hemopo (2), Matt Berkrey, Mitchell Coleman (2), Kade Burgess
Conversions 6/6 – Matt Berkrey
Penalty Goals 1/1 – Matt Berkrey
Best & Fairest Points:
3 – Owen “Schooner” Griffiths
2 – Cam “Toss” Rosser
1 – James Schiller
Players Player – Jesse “Danger” Pittman
Next weekend, the Yabbiemen make the long journey out to Condobolin for the first time in many years to take on the Rams! If you’re trying to work out what you might be up to this weekend, why not consider a trip to Condobolin? You can check out the “Utes in the Paddock” installation, and more importantly find yourself at the Condo Rugby Club to see the Yabbies and the Rams clash for Round 11 of the Oilplus South West Rugby Competiton! More details on the match to come with the release of the team announcement.
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