Bowral Rebirth Complete With Grand Final Victory

MatchReportThe Rebirth of the Bowral Rugby Club is complete after the Blacks heroic 34 – 18 Grand Final win over red hot favorites Avondale in summery conditions at WIN Stadium. With the hard working Bowral forwards led by big front rower Todd Pearce taking the match right up to the much vaunted Wombat pack, the Blacks reversed the Major Semi-Final result of two weeks ago to take their first IDRU title since 1999.

In an epic decider the Blacks scored four tries to three, with IDRU Player of the Year, Lachlan Huntington producing another masterful display scoring fourteen points and guiding his side around the park with an expert kicking and passing display. But it was an outstanding defensive effort from the Blacks that contributed most to the turnaround from the Semi in which they conceded seven tries to the Wombats.

After a hard fought first forty minutes the match was very evenly poised at 13 all at the break but the Blacks finished the stronger of the two sides putting on three tries in the last twenty five minutes of the game. The Bowral supporters showed their appreciation for the performance of front rower Todd Pearce as they cheered the big man from the field in the dying minutes of the match. Pearce led the Bowral pack superbly laying the foundation for the historical win.

In a sometimes spiteful first half Avondale played their customary power game testing the Bowral defense throughout with the first try to Fly Half Antonio Ale coming after eight minutes of play. Fullback Silipa Tuigamala joined in a backline raid drawing two defenders before setting Ale away for the try wide out. Tuigamala missed the conversion but added a penalty goal soon after to extend the Wombats lead to 8 – 0.

With twenty three minutes gone Huntington kicked a long range penalty goal minutes before Halfback Tim Small put on a try for winger Tom Mooney from a scrum forty out. Small went to the blind drawing two defenders releasing Mooney down the eastern touchline. With a big in and away Mooney left Tuigamala in his wake and scored wide on the right. Huntington’s conversion from the sideline gave Bowral the lead at 10 – 8.

Giant front rower Anthony Amone broke free from inside his own half before setting speedster Blake Spencer away down the left with the winger crossing for Wombats to retake the lead 13 – 10. Huntington added another penalty goal shortly before the interval to wrap up what was energy sapping first forty minutes.

Avondale once again threw everything at the Bowral defense after the break without success, when six minutes in, Fullback Tuigamala was Yellow Carded for using his knees in a tackle. Avondale still managed to put the Blacks line under pressure during this period but couldn’t break through. As Tuigamala was about to return to the field, Blacks champion winger Christian Vainerere broke clear from inside his own half. In a powerful run down the beach side of the field he fought off several defenders before finding center Erin Blackshaw in support who raced away to score. Huntington converted to put the Blacks out by seven at 20 – 13.  

With Bowral now starting to get the ascendancy as the match took its toll on the Avondale forwards Huntington jinked his way through from fifteen out and raced into the Avondale in goal. Horrifyingly though as he prepared to ground the ball it came free and a sure seven points went begging. To add insult to injury Referee John Maughan went back into the field of play and awarded Bowral a penalty resulting from an earlier Avondale breach. Huntington missed with what was by his standards a simple shot at goal.

With still fifteen minutes to play the match was still in the balance but the Blacks were appearing to be finishing the match the better as the Wombats saw errors creep into their game in the face of a stout Bowral defensive effort. Erin Blackshaw all but sealed Avondale’s fate when he crossed for his second try after a standard backline play. With another sideline conversion from Huntington the Blacks led 27 – 13 with ten to go.

Avondale’s Country rep No.8 Tuu Taiti-Taanoa rekindle some hope for the Wombat supporters when he produced an amazing sixty meter effort to score beating five Bowral defenders down the eastern side of the ground. With the conversion missed however the Blacks were still clear at 27 – 18 with time quickly running down.

Halfback Tim Small produced a clever kick in the closing moments of the match which produced a converted try for replacement winger Henry Yuill as the speedster outpaced several defenders to score the final try bringing up the 34 - 18 margin.

It was a remarkable form reversal from the Blacks after their big Major Semi-Final capitulation to the Wombats at Eridge Park a fortnight ago. A spirited and committed effort from their outweighed forward pack laid the foundation for the victory. Todd Pearce led his young charges superbly showing by example just what was required to get the job done. His fellow forwards Tim Lewis in particular, along with Jack Parsons, Joshua Dick, Clancy Donan and Mitch Hardy were superb for the new Premiers. Halfback Tim Small was awarded the Geoff Shaw Medal for Best on Ground after showing all his experience and game sense throughout the match. Huntington was simply outstanding producing a performance to cap what has been a breakthrough year for the young Fly-Half. Centers Justin Madden and two try hero Erin Blackshaw outshone their more fancied opponents with back three Mooney, Vainerere and fullback Ryan Hutchings-Knight superb.

The Avondale effort on the day was solid but not being able to overcome the dogged Bowral defense and being forced to play catch up in the second term saw the Wombats make too many simple errors in the loss. The scrum base trio of Taanoa, halfback Andrew Duggan and Fly half Ale worked tirelessly to try and spark the Wombat attack but the free flowing composed effort that was a feature of their game a fortnight ago was just not there for the big one.  

Bowral 34 (Erin Blackshaw 2 tries, Tom Mooney 1 try, Henry Yuill 1 try, Lachlan Huntington 4 goals, 2 penalty goals)

Def Avondale 18 (Antonio Ale 1 try, Blake Spencer 1 try, Tuu Tait-Taanoa 1 try, Silipa Tuigamala 1 penalty goal)

Geoff Shaw Medal Winner – Tim Small, Bowral

Lower Grade Results

2nd Grade

Bowral 28 (Dave Minter 1 try, Alex Debs 1 try, Dan Loader 2 tries, 4 goals)

Def Campbelltown 18 (Ben Leaupepe 1 try, Adrian Casuscclli 1 try, 1 goal, 2 penalty goals)

Player of the Grand Final – Dan Loader, Bowral

3rd Grade

Camden 24 (Mathew Ryan 2 tries, Evan D’Souza 1 try, Taylor Maynard 1 try, Dane Kelly 2 goals)

Def Shoalhaven 19 (Michael Dun 1 try, Jason Vaughan 1 goal, 4 penalty goals)

Player of the Grand Final – Joshua Tailby, Camden     

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