Congratulations boys! Bowral 22 def Manly 17 today (4th September) in an historic win in the Sydney Junior Rugby Competition at Concord Oval.
On Sunday the 4th of September the Bowral Black’s U18s made history by being the first regional team to win the Grand Final in the Sydney Junior Rugby Competition. On the main stage of Concord Oval with Gordon Bray calling the game and where many international tests have been played, the Blacks put together a steely effort to edge out the Shute Shield and Waratah nursery of Manly.
Bowral ran in 4 tries to Manly’s 3. Bowral also landed a conversion from the boot of full-back Darcy Cotton who did well in even being on the field after being pinned up against a steel post by a limousin steer on Wednesday which resulted in massive bruising. After some desperate physio work, Cotton took to the field and didn’t shirk his duties.
Manly started strongly and created pressure with their pick and drive. They did employ some questionable tactics with the use of blockers which the Bowral captain Ruben Vermaak was able to point out to the referee who did penalise Manly after 15 minutes. In the interim Manly ran in 2 tries and led by 12 to 0.
After the second restart Marcello Vaihoea put on a massive tackle which sent the Manly fullback and ball flying. Off the ensuing scrum number 8 Vermaak picked up and sprinted blind to score an unconverted try. Shortly thereafter Bowral worked upfield with some astute kicking from fly half Baden Stewart and off the line-out worked the ball to the left wing where centres Matt Vianne and Sam Clarke sent winger Lachlan Young to acrobatically touch down in the left corner.
Shortly thereafter a series of massive tackles by tight-five Max Beddow, Tye Deku, Nick Neculman, Max Hani and Josh Dick, caused Manly to err which led to an attacking scrum. Vermaak was able to get his double by picking and going blind. Bowral went into the half leading 17 to 12.
At the break the players and coaches discussed the opportunity to exploit Manly’s fast line-speed with chip kicks and the need to lower body height in defence. However, Manly started the second half in a similar vein as the first half and scored an equalising try. Bowral showed resilience and hit back shortly thereafter by moving the ball wide to right winger Charlie Machado who made some strong metres. Loose forwards Harry Vaughan, Lachlan Frean and Lachlan Watkin worked as link players and secured the ball successively in phase play which put the Black’s near the Manly line. Scrum half Max Carfi picked the moment to run to perfection and scored a nuggety try putting Bowral in the lead 22-17.
The play moved up and down the field a couple of times in the last minutes of the game leaving the crowd on the edge of their seats. Bowral finally prevailed after Manly botched an attacking lineout.
Others to play a significant role in the win were Hamish Nixon, Josh Lewocki, Llew Davies, Cheyenne Martin, Morgan Allen and John Garoche who all contributed unselfishly. Players who weren’t eligible for the grand final and also contributed significantly to the success were Dylan Palmer-Quigg, Tom Freer, Nick Lockett, Matt Stevens and Henry Long. Thanks to everyone who has supported the team; it takes a community to win a grand final.
Awesome effort to players, coaching, management staff and parents.