Armidale triumphs over Gwydir League in three grades

July 29, 2013


Gwydir League suspected that it would be a tough afternoon at Gwydir Oval and this proved to be the case. Armidale, with a bit more at stake, won the three grades. League tag 6-4, Reserves 46-30 and first grade 20-18 and kept their semi final hopes alive. For Gwydir, the defeats, while hard to accept, are not the end of the world and the coaches immediately set about preparing the players for next weeks matches against Ashford.

The big plus of the day for the home Club was the vast improvement by the ladies league tag to hold the opposition to one try. In fact, the girls led 4-0 at half time following a good try to Kearni Churchland in the 23rd minute when she ran 90 metres to score. However Armidale’s Sam Webster scored five minutes after the break for Alice Dennison to convert and tremendous defence by both teams failed to add any further points. Player’s player was Churchland and the referee awarded two points to Melissa Molloy.

The Gwydir reserve grade was coming off their defeat of front-runners, Moree Boomerangs and another top performance was expected. However the 14 Armidale players had other ideas and instead of fading as the match progressed, it was Gwydir who dropped off the pace. Gwydir lead 10 nil after 10 minutes with tries to Mark Sankey and Andrew McClymont, but then sat back and allowed Armidale to run in 22 points to lead 22-10 and 22-14 after Lachlan Dennison nailed a try one minute from half time. Brayden McGrady had added a goal.

Whatever was said at the break worked, well, at least for a while. Gwydir raced to a 30-22 lead on the back of tries to Dennison, McGrady, Ash Thompson and two further goals to McGrady. However a change came over the game as possession shifted to the Greens and they ran in a stack tries in the last 15 minutes to win 46-30. Players’ player for Gwydir was Thompson and the referee gave two points to Andrew McClymont. For many, it was no coincidence that Armidale did their best work when McClymont was injured.

In the first grade match, Gwydir won the first 40 minutes 14 nil and Armidale the next forty 20-4 to give the joint venture plenty to think about. Earlier in the season a good first half set up some very strong victories, but not on Saturday and the players have two games before the semi final to sort what is going wrong. Ashley Churchland had a good day, scoring the first try and kicking three goals. David McGrady, also did well and cross kicked for Andrew Cleal to make it 10 nil after36 minutes. Cleal was at it again after the break to bag a second, again after another delicate kick by McGrady, but that was it for the afternoon. At 0-18 down with about 30 minutes to go, Armidale scored three tries and kicked a late penalty to win 20-18. To be fair to the Gwydir team, they did not get awarded any of the 50/50 calls; frustration led to errors and it was a game where they could not get out of 1st gear. However Armidale, with nothing to lose wanted the win more and never gave up. They will recall it as a memorial performance, against all the odds.

Players’ player was Adam Rodilossi and David McGrady received two points from the referee.

The winning double was 3 and 13.

Next week, Gwydir play Ashford at Warialda in three grades.
Tables (Firsts) Moree 26, Glen 26, Gwydir 20, Tingha 18, Armidale 16, Inverell 14, Ashford 6. (Reserves) Moree 25, Armidale 19, Glen 19, Tingha 18, Gwydir 18, Inverell 6, Ashford 4, Uralla 3 (Ladies) Uralla 26, Glen 22, Tingha 20, Moree 15, Inverell 10, Armidale 9, Ashford 8, Gwydir 2.