Tough day at the office for Scone in BHP Billiton Hunter Valley Group 21 Rugby League

IT was a tough day at the office last Sunday with the Scone Thoroughbreds only having one win at Scone Park.

Reserve grade scored a late victory while firsts, under-18s and women’s league tag were all defeated. 

There is a long time between games and the Thoroughbreds outfit, which played the Singleton Greyhounds, appeared to have little resemblance to the winning team the week before. 

Singleton started the fixture with an early try and maintained control over a struggling Thoroughbreds throughout.

It only took a few minutes for Singleton to start its tryscoring with an effective last tackle kick finding Dale Watson for Chad Solman to convert.

Scone had some opportunities in the next 15 minutes or so but could not make the most of it with dropped or poor passing costing dearly. 

A lack of urgency chasing another last tackle kick proved costly when the perfect bounce found Nathan Sweeney and the Greyhounds went out to a 10-0 lead. 

An easy try with 10 to go did not help the Thoroughbreds and a penalty conversion provided an 18-0 half-time score.

The second period continued with frustrations, however Gary Mckeon put up a well-judged kick for Caleb Taylor to cross and get the Thoroughbreds on the score sheet. 

Continued pressure and missed tackles were enough for Singleton to cross again for a converted try, with a score line of 24-4. 

Consecutive penalties provided the locals with some momentum and when John Johnson strolled over with 15 minutes to go, the optimists thought there might be a chance. 

Any such notions were however short-lived, when Scone made a mistake at the restart which led to another converted try for Singleton. 

Just add salt to the wound, the Greyhounds crossed again with a few minutes to go, prevailing 34-10.

Coach Wes Suckley was very disappointed with the performance but remained positive.

“Singleton found us wanting in a number of areas and we need to do much better,” he said.

“We have shown that we can compete with any team and hard work and commitment will get us there.”

The reserve grade team came up with the only win of the day – but the Merriwa side could be forgiven for thinking they were headed for a victory.

The outfits were quite even from the start and it took about 15 minutes for the first try to be scored by the visitors when they regathered a kick.

Scone struck back quickly thanks to an error at the restart which saw Tom Vincent crossing with the conversion by Troy Dunley giving them a 6-4 lead. 

Merriwa crossed again with five minutes to go when the Scone defence could not contain one of their large forwards close to the line. Half-time score – 10-6.

It was the Magpies who were first to touch down again following some sustained pressure and giving them a 14-6 lead. 

It seemed like the locals had been camped in their half for ages, however when they finally got to the other end, their efforts were rewarded with Kyle Wilcher crossing thanks to a Jade Smith pass.

The conversion was missed but the gap narrowed to four, 14-10.

A costly mistake at the restart put the pressure back on and the Magpies made the most of it with another try, giving them an 18-10 advantage.

A big momentum shift then occurred and Scone dominated the last 15 minutes, coming up with tries to Checka Brennan, who picked up a double, and Jake Collison rewarded for his hard work all day. 

Wilcher converted all three and the final result was 28-18 to Scone. 

Coach Troy Dunley was relieved with the win.

“That was not one of our better games, but credit to the Magpies who stuck it to us for the whole game,” he said.

“We managed to get back on top in the last part of the game, but we need to work on our game as we approach the semis.”

The under-18 game was typical of the young Thoroughbreds season, which has seen them very competitive for the first half but not just able to continue in the second period.

The visitors put two tries on the locals in the first 20 minutes, however it was Scone’s turn to fight back with four-pointers to Ben Fechner and then Ryan Hawkshaw crossing right on the bell. 

Fechner converted one and a 12-10 scoreline to the visitors was a fair reflection of the game. 

The locals held out Singleton for 15 minutes before they crossed again, and followed up with a three further tries over the next 15 minutes.

To their credit however, the boys did not give up and were rewarded with a very late, second try to Hawkshaw. 

Hayden Bell’s conversion provided the final score of 30-16.

Coach Codie McCarthy was proud of the team’s effort.

“These lads keep turning up and never stop trying,” he said.

“A win is not too far away – we need to maintain our effort for the entire game.”

Women’s league tag saw the current table leaders Merriwa taking on an improving Scone team.

It was always going to be a tough game and the Magpies scored two tries in the first 10 minutes for a 10-point margin.

The locals fought back however and pocket rocket Lilly Golledge caught the opposition napping with a smart try from dummy half for a 10-6 half-time score. 

Merriwa managed another try in the first five minutes of the second stanza, but Scone kept its composure and effort to ensure there were no more tries for the opposition. 

The Magpies were strong in defence all day and also held out the Thoroughbreds for the final 14-4 victory. 

Coach Steve Simpson was proud of the girls’ performance.

“The Merriwa team is undefeated and have put some big scores on their opposition this season,” he said.

“We have a lot of youngsters and they are all improving with the guidance of our experienced players.

“The opposition teams will not be able to take us lightly.”