Reviving their Group 15 rivalry from battles dating back to the early 1980s, the Cobar Roosters and Bourke Warriors fought out a thrilling 22-all draw in front of bumper Tom Knight Memorial Oval crowd on Saturday.
After an 11th hour shift from Group 11 in April this year back to their original group, the Roosters hosted their first Barwon Darling Cup game and their avid supporters weren’t disappointed.
Both teams were keen to get things started with punishing tackles the order early in the match and neither side seemed to be able to take the upper hand in a match that was marred by numerous penalties.
Defending premiers Bourke Warriors then found their rhythm, stunning the Roosters’ defence to run in three tries in the first stanza through Hogan Shillingsworth (2) and Ernest Elwood-Wilson.
Add in the two conversions by Craig Orcher and Bourke headed to the sheds with a 16-0 advantage at half time.
After the break the Roosters began to crow.
Gone was the scrappy play, the dropped balls, the forward passes and the frustrated play that had marked the Roosters’ style of play in the first half.
A Colin Lang four pointer and Orcher’s penalty goal 25 minutes from full-time would be Bourke’s only points in the second half as Cobar captain-coach Ben Simon inspired a remarkable come back.
Also pulling their weight in the forward pack were Ethan Black, David Watson and Jarred Davey whose strong runs in attack ensured the Roosters stayed camped in their own half for most of the second stanza.
While replacement Mason Garland chimed in scoring an exciting late try for the Roosters, few could argue the second half belonged to Ben Simon.
In a rampaging display Simon, who amassed what would normally be a prop forward’s career try scoring tally, crossed three times in Saturday’s match and catapulted his side to within four points in the dying minutes.
Then in the final 60 seconds the head Rooster did it again, scoring his fourth to make it 22 a-piece and give goal kicker Wade Potter a chance to snatch victory from the sideline.
Potter’s long range attempt however was waved away leaving the outback rivals to share the points with a thrilling 22-all draw.—contributed