Bowral Victorious In Match Of The Year

MatchReportIt was billed as the Match of the Round. It proved to be the Match of the Year as the Bowral Blacks confirmed their competition credentials with an emphatic 37 – 28 victory over the University Bulls at University Oval. In a match worthy of a Finals decider Bowral scored five tries to four to win what was an enthralling very fast paced match.

The Blacks scored two tries in the last five minutes of the game to snatch the win from the students after the Bulls were forced to play catch up for much of the match. Down 14 – 20 at the break the students clawed their way back to the lead at 28 – 25 going into the final stages of play.

The two number eights, Harry Carlon for Bowral and Paul Tuala for Uni were outstanding, working themselves to a standstill but both had plenty of support from two very committed forward packs. The work rate of all the forwards at the breakdown played an enormous part in the speed of the game with all but one of the tries coming to backs who were given plenty of opportunities by their hard working forwards. From the outset both sides showed their intention to play an open game, and play an open game they did entertaining everyone in attendance.

The two halfbacks Tim Small from the Blacks and Tom Baker from Uni took full advantage of the efforts of their forwards at the breakdown giving quality service to their respective backlines and the tries came at regular intervals with the lead changing six times throughout the match. Two tries a piece came in the first half with two penalty goals to Blacks Fly half Lachlan Huntington giving Bowral the edge at the break. The sides went try for try in the second term until the Blacks heroics in the final minutes.

The first ten minutes of the match was all action with play sweeping form one end of the field to the other as both sides searched for an early break in two well organised defenses. An innocuous kick from the students saw the ball rolling deep into the Blacks quarter as Uni winger Jamie Mason caught the defenders out, slipping in behind them in the in goal and touching down on the loose ball for five points. Tom Baker converted for a 7 – 0 lead to Uni.

Soon after Bowral mounted a sustained attacking raid of some six phases taking play to within ten of the Uni line. Winger Jordan Grey benefitted from a long cut out pass from Huntington to score Bowral’s first points. Huntington converted and the scores were equal at 7 – 7 after eighteen minutes of frantic football.

A penalty goal from Huntington and then a miraculous try from the lightning fast Henry Yuill shot Bowral out by ten points. Yuill retrieved a poor clearing kick from the students just in his own half and with shear speed and two side steps the winger left the defense grasping at thin air as he raced the fifty meters for a converted try.    

Five from the break veteran Donovan Nepia playing at inside center took a sweet intercept thirty out to score without a hand on him from the Blacks defenders. A conversion from Baker followed two minutes later by another penalty goal to Huntington brought up the half time score-line.

The extraordinary pace of the match continued after the break with the Students getting themselves right back into the match early. Uni stole the lead back after five minutes when Baker took a quick penalty tap some forty out catching the Bowral defense napping. He raced away to score and convert for Uni to take the lead again at 21 – 20.

The Blacks then showed just what they are capable of taking control of the match with a well-structured attacking game which led to Henry Yuill’s second try which saw the lead back in the Blacks hands at 25 – 21 with thirty left on the clock.

A string of frustrating Ruck and off side penalties took the momentum away from the Blacks as Uni mounted another assault on the Bowral line. A penalty set up an attacking lineout close to the Blacks line for the students to press home the advantage. It was Lock Lee Verrall who scored form the back of a rolling maul and with Baker converting the students took back the lead 28 – 25 with ten left in the match.

From here the Blacks showed just how much the side has progressed under the coaching of Gene Fairbanks in recent years taking a grip on the final stages of the match to secure outright second on the table. Showing great composure the Blacks put enormous pressure on the Uni defense which finally gave way with Huntington slicing through from close range to score and convert for a 32 – 28 lead for Bowral. Outstanding Bowral center Christian Vainerere then laid the foundation for the final try of the match when he broke through in mid field setting off the play that resulted in a try to winger Thomas Mooney to take his side beyond the Bulls reach with two minutes left on the clock.    

Plenty of people left the ground satisfied that they had just witnessed the match of the 2018 season so far from two very fit and well prepared football sides. Strong performances from both sets of forwards laid the foundation for the outstanding attacking football played throughout the match which also featured some strong efficient defensive play as well from both sides. Neither side could claim forward supremacy from the match as the performance from all concerned was outstanding. The play from both sides at the breakdown was critical to producing the high standard of play maintained throughout.

For Bowral No.8 Harry Carlon led the effort throughout with strong support from forwards Todd Pearce, Mitchell Hardy and Tim Lewis whilst Fly-Half Huntington was involved in much of the Blacks successful attacking play as well as providing seventeen points for his side. Center Christian Vainerere produced an eye catching performance as did Henry Yuill, with Half-back Tim Small’s organizational ability once again proving to be pivotal in most of what Bowral produces in attack.      

Cockatoo rep Takunda Chimwaza continues to impress for Uni in both attack and defense. His work at the breakdown was a feature of this match. Uni were once again inspired by the workload of Paul Tuala with Prop Casey Rameka and Locks William Wood and Lee Varrell also prominent. Halfback Baker produced plenty of opportunities for his outside backs on top of a four from four goal kicking performance in the match.

Bowral 37  (Henry Yuill 2 tries, Jordan Grey 1 try, Thomas Mooney 1 try, Lachlan Huntington  1 try, 3 goals, 2 penalty goals)

Def University 28 (Jamie Mason 1 try, Donovan Nepia 1 try, Lee Verrall 1 try, Tom Baker 1 try, 4 goals)

Other Match Results

Vikings 42 Def Campbelltown 12

Avondale 24 Def Kiama 0

Shoalhaven 79 Def Camden 17

Shamrocks 39 Def Tech Waratahs 10   

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