Brahmans take third premiership in row

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RUGBY LEAGUE: Sporting three grades of football, the Binalong Rugby League Club took to the field for 2015 after an absence of almost two decades from Woodbridge Cup where they originally had only one grade and the 1991 flag.

Having lost the Youth League team elimination final to Peak Hill the week before at Eugowra 27-26, Binalong still had their League Tag side, The Jersey Girls and the first grade Brahmans to contest the Grand Finals at Young last Sunday.

The Jersey Girls

The Jersey Girls started the day against the Minor Premiers, Eugowra’s Golden Eagles both teams having finished the season on 31 points a piece. Captain Bron Pollack won the toss and the girls set into the game, only to have Eugowra’s Abbie Howell score after an overlap on the left. The conversion failed but the Jerseys were down 4-0 after five minutes.

Ali Giles worked hard for the Jersey Girls, but they went down 14-6 to Eugowra PHOTOS: Susan Meli.

Ali Giles worked hard for the Jersey Girls, but they went down 14-6 to Eugowra PHOTOS: Susan Meli.

By contrast with the previous week’s excellent performance, the girls were off their game, poor ball security was costing them field position. Eugowra were pressing hard but Ali Giles managed a good line break which failed to produce points. It took the Jersey Girls almost 12 minutes to get out of their own end of the field.

However, Jess Howard made a handy break after 14 minutes to score, Alison Giles converted and Binalong were up 6-4. Lisa Naughton toiled away and beat her Golden Eagles opposite number several times. It was the excellent defence by the Jerseys that got them to half time leading 6-4.

When the second half opened, disaster struck with Eugowra’s full back Sam Thornton crossing for an unconverted try. In spite of great defence by Sam Bailey, Madeline Brayshaw, Maddie Miller and Lucy Hammond, Eugowra’s 5/8 Ella J-Harris crossed in the 36th minute and the Jersey Girls season ground to an end. Kaylah Smith and Ang Taylor threw everything they could into the game but Eugowra ran out 14-6 winners.

Jersey Girls' Madeline Brayshaw. The team  led 6-4 at half time. PHOTOS: Susan Meli.

Jersey Girls’ Madeline Brayshaw. The team led 6-4 at half time. PHOTOS: Susan Meli.

The Youth League

The Youth League Grand Final was next up and Eugowra took on Peak Hill for the decider in which Peak Hill ran out 28-10 winners.

The Brahmans

The main feature of the day was broadcast live on ABC Radio between Binalong and Trundle’s “Boomers”. The warm conditions made for perfect weather for the game, almost no wind and slightly slippery conditions near the cricket pitch found players loosing their footing.

Dummy-half Guy Sherratt. PHOTOS: Susan Meli.

Dummy-half Guy Sherratt. PHOTOS: Susan Meli.

This was a high-speed match for the whole 80 minutes and at times the brutal body contact made for spectacular viewing by the large attendance. The Brahmans set out for the up-hill run in the first half, Captain/Coach Chris Rawlinson nailed a 40/20 kick and Craig Irwin was in after five minutes, Phil Sparnon converted and it looked good for Binalong at 6-0 up.

The Boomers never relented all day and their wing Brandon Ross scored the first of his tries for the day after 12 minutes.

Andrew Moore from ABC Radio Grandstand. Andrew, Matt Elliott and Andrew "Bobcat" Ryan called the game at Cranfield oval. PHOTO: Richard Glover

Andrew Moore from ABC Radio Grandstand. Andrew, Matt Elliott and Andrew “Bobcat” Ryan called the game at Cranfield oval. PHOTO: Richard Glover

In the 30th minute Ross was in again, the conversion put Trundle up 10-6 for their only lead of the match. Binalong’s Phil Sparnon was injured and Craig Irwin was left with goal kicking duties for the game. The Boomer’s Nik Harris, Josh Van der Stock and Cameron Skinner were causing problems for Binalong.

Enter Scott Naughton and the balance was restored. A line break by Naughton was thwarted but a kick by him afterwards resulted in a try close to half time and Binalong went to the sheds 12-10 up. Trundle had served notice they were here to play.

As the second stanza got under way James Blair put his stamp on the game. Ben Potts and Tony Worthy made deep impressions in Trundle’s defence during the first half and now Ben Spencer and Reuben Olah looked to re-enforce the advantage. Anthony Merritt came on and the Boomer’s defenders seemed more reluctant to take on Potts and Tony Worthy.

At the fifty minute mark Naughton crossed again and at 18-10 the pressure was off.

Trundle’s Brandon Sense continued to fight on and inspire his team and they got to 18-16. Craig Irwin scored a scintillating try minutes later followed by Guy Sherrett and with the Brahmans with a 30-16 looked set to take the game.

Anthony 'Cuz' Merritt. PHOTOS: Susan Meli

Anthony ‘Cuz’ Merritt. PHOTOS: Susan Meli

It was however a grand stand finish in a very entertaining game as Trundle fought out a 30-28 result in a very resilient fashion. The Boomers proved that anything Binalong could do, they could match, right up to 80 minutes and not a soul left the ground before the contest was decided, gripping stuff!

The Country Rugby League and Woodbridge Cup Organizations should have been proud of the spectacle and performance by both teams. Binalong finished as Minor Premiers but this Grand Final could have gone either way, a couple of bombed tries probably flattered Trundle’s defence a little, but it did make for captivating viewing.  Referee Tim Bailey controlled the game well and handled the players without incident although the match saw a minor brawl early in the first half.

Ben Potts taking his usual punishment. PHOTOS: Susan Meli

Ben Potts taking his usual punishment. PHOTOS: Susan Meli

It has been quite a remarkable effort on Binalong’s behalf to run the risk of leaving George Tooke Shield to return to Woodbridge Cup after they lost some quality players at the end of the 2014 season. But in retrospect it was a risk worth taking and the fact that Binalong carried their junior team to the penultimate round of the competition and had two sides in a Grand Final was a colossal effort.

Binalong 30: Tries; C.Irwin (2), S.Naughton (2) and G.Sherrett. Goals: C.Irwin (4) and P.Sparnon def Trundle 28. Referee: Mr. Tim Bailey.

– By bos Indicus.

View a full gallery on our Facebook page.

Video report courtesy of fellow independent newspaper, Twin Town Times.

Binalong defeat Trundle 30-28


Posted by TWIN TOWN TIMES on Sunday, 20 September 2015


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