The Bowral Blacks played its first home game in 2015 on Saturday. The Blacks hosted the Campbelltown Harlequins at the revamped facilities at Eridge Park. The contest was held as part of round two of the Illawarra Rugby competition.
Saturday’s first grade match was a real arm-wrestle. Bowral dominated the first 20 minutes and was awarded four penalties within goal kicking range through the pressure of its structures. For the first three, Bowral decided to run the ball and each time was brought up just short. On two occasions John Dobson and Tim Lewis were held up over the line. Full credit to the Harlequins for its gritty defence.
Bowral eventually settled for a penalty kick settling for a 3-0 lead at the 20-minute mark. The Harlequins then rallied and the side was able to run in two tries and kick a penalty just before half time. Going into the second half, coach Paul Frean felt Bowral could still win the game if they took their chances. The instructions were to be patient and stick to their structures. Bowral did this and after a sustained period of pressure, the Blacks side was able to score, only to have the try disallowed. For the remainder of the half, Bowral dominated scrums and line-outs, but was not able to convert this wealth of possession into points.
The result was a nil-all result for the second half and Campbelltown ran out eventual winner 15-3. The player points for Bowral were given to John Dobson (three), Tim Lewis (two) and Ray Afamasaga (one). The Bowral coaches were pleased with their performance as Campbelltown was a quality team.
The Blacks side has shown improvement since last season. Bowral can still improve significantly over the coming weeks.
This article is from the Southern Highlands News (published 22nd April 2015).