The sizeable crowd on hand at Dunedoo’s Robertson Oval for the Christie and Hood Castlereagh League minor semi-finals last Saturday were treated to three close games, with the biggest winning margin on the day being the eight point victory the Gulgong Terriers scored in their Youth League clash with the Gilgandra Panthers.
The Panther cubs started the game in a flurry and raced out to a 10-nil lead but the Terrier pups were not going away and they were to score two tries to lock it up at 10-all before trailing by six at half-time.
After the break the Gulgong side slowly but surely gained the ascendancy, being aided by some poor discipline from the Panthers, and went on to win 28-20.
The League Tag minor semi saw the Gilgandra Pink Panthers pitted against the Cobar Roosterettes
The Roosterettes went into the game without Western Rams representative Zoe Harland due to injury and they played with a vacant bench but it seemed to matter little to them as they put in a valiant performance. Cobar trailed 12-0 at the break but dominated the second stanza.
They scored twice to trail by just two and but Gilgandra produced some fine defence in the final minutes to score a narrow win.
The Dunedoo Swans and the Binnaway Bombshells started the main senior game under threatening skies and were soon playing in conditions previously unknown to the players in 2018, that being rain which pounded down heavily at times.
The foreign weather conditions did little to enhance the game as a spectacle and it was a stop-start affair, free-flowing football seemingly not on the menu.
Swans hooker Blake Taufa took the blindside route from dummyhalf from to open the scoring after just four minutes but Binnaway led 6-4 soon after following a Dylan Tighe try converted by Seb Backhouse.
In response the Swans went on attack but were called back on three occasions with the final pass not sticking or being forward to deny them vital points.
One of their best on the day, youthful fullback Toby O’Leary, finally scored for the Swans to set-up a 10-6 half-time lead.
The Swans increased the lead to 14-6 after the break following a try to second-rower Sam Christensen but Tighe hit back to make it a six points game with 25 minutes remaining. The sides traded tries again, Tighe powering over for an impressive third, and with the margin just four points it was an engrossing finish.
But the vocal home crowd got the Swans home, winning 20-16.
They will now play the loser of Saturday’s major semi final between minor premiers Gulgong and Gilgandra.
Coonabarabran and Cobar meet in the Youth League major semi while Baradine takes on Coonamble in league tag.