The lead changed five times in the Castlereagh Rugby League First Grade game between the Cobar Roosters and the Coonamble Bears on Saturday at Tom Knight Memorial Oval making for a thriller of a match.
The Bears held out a final desperate attempt to score by the Roosters to claim a narrow
The first half of the game was a tough arm wrestle with neither side able to gain the upper hand and it mirrored the Women’s League Tag game played just before with both games centred around strong defence.
It took the First Graders 20 minutes before points were put on the board and it was the home side who scored first after Ben Simon made a break mid field for the Roosters.
Simon found Rob Childs in support who showed plenty of pace to run untouched to score under the posts and set himself up for an easy conversion.
Childs’ successful kick put Cobar 6-0 ahead.
The strong arm battle between the two teams continued until the Bears kicked to the corner six minutes later where their waiting winger Josh Gershon dived on the ball to score.
With the sideline conversion attempt waved away, Cobar held on to a narrow 6-4 lead.
On multiple occasions the Cobar defenders failed to wrap up the ball in their tackles enabling the Bears to pass it out to gain extra metres in their attacking raids.
At the 30 minute mark, the Bears made the most of a Cobar error close to the line with Marshall Williams crossing to score.
Williams’ successful conversion gave the Bears a 10-6 lead.
Shortly after Tim Hillam thrilled the Roosters crowd of supporters with a busting run to break the line and score.
Childs’ difficult conversion into a cross breeze put the Roosters ahead 12-10 with three minutes left to play in the first half.
A penalty against the Roosters for a high tackle, which was then advanced further down field for backchat, gave the Bears the opportunity to level the scores with Williams’ penalty kick locking up the scores at 12-all going into the break.
The Bears were quick off the mark from the restart scoring out on the wing within a minute of play through Isiah Orcher.
With the sideline conversion attempt well off the mark, the Bears took a 16-12 lead.
Midway through the second half Cobar took back the ascendancy when Hillam scored after a near length of the field run.
Childs’ conversion put them ahead 18-16.
Not long after Andrew Wallace sent a grubber kick over the line which he recovered to score and Williams’ conversion put the Bears back in front at 22-18.
As the clock ticked down, the Cobar side was looking tired and lost Simon just before full time to a head injury.
The Roosters kept the ball alive for a long time after the final hooter looking to score but the Bears, desperate for the win, maintained their strong defence to hold out for a 22-18 win.