ST Nicholas’, Carinya/Oxley, St Mary’s and Farrer shared the honours when the LBK Solicitors Cup concluded for another year on Friday night.
St Nic’s kicked things off with a 31-7 win over Calrossy in the primary final.
Carinya/Oxley then edged out McCarthy 20-19 in a thrilling 13s final with a late penalty.
It was a close and exciting game with plenty of running rugby.
Carinya/Oxley led 10-7 at half-time and then 17-14 with 15 minutes remaining.
McCarthy scored to hit the front 19-17 with eight to go but then conceded a penalty about 30m out and just to the right, which Carinya duly popped over for the win.
The bigger boys from both teams did most of the damage. Both inside centres had strong games and allowed the outside backs to gain momentum.
St Mary’s then scored in the last couple of minutes to seal a 26-10 win in the 14s.
It was a see-sawing contest. McCarthy led 5-nil midway through the first half but St Mary’s ran in 19 unanswered points to lead by 14 at the break.
McCarthy got it back to 19-10 with 10 to go but that was as close as they would get.
Both sides showed a lot of skill, with St Mary’s pace and determination what got them over the line.
Farrer then won the 15s 15-7 over Quirindi.
They scored in the first five minutes and led 15-nil with 15 to go.
Quirindi played a very good unstructured game and created a lot of opportunities in broken play but was unable to finish Farrer off, either through the last pass not going to hand or some good defence from Farrer.
In contrast to Quirindi, Farrer had good success using their forwards to rumble it forward and then going wide.
Earlier, St Nic’s capped an undefeated season with a 24- point win.
It was their first appearance in the final in the time that coach Peter Flynn has been there, and the first time he knows of that they’ve won the silverware.
They won it on the back of their defence.
“Their defence was fantastic,” Flynn said.
“They moved up well and were enthusiastic and supported each other with the ball.”
Leading 14-7 at half-time, they really got a roll-on in the second half.
“At half-time I pretty much told them if they defend well they’d score some points,” Flynn said.
Number eight Ed George was the lone forward to score, with the backs finishing off well.
They have got a pretty sharp and quick backline, Flynn said, and when they got it wide they looked dangerous.
He said a lot of the boys hadn’t really played rugby before this season.
There was a core of five or six who play with the tri-colours of a Sunday but the rest weren’t regular players.
George and football (soccer) star Joe Doherty were both outstanding but they all played well, he said.
Calrossy coach Tim O’Callaghan said it was a fantastic game from his boys.
“It was probably the best game our guys have played all year,” he said.
He thought that St Nic’s pace was the difference.
“The forwards were fantastic with their pick and drive and at the breakdown,” he said.
It was when St Nic’s spread it wide they got into trouble.
It was their first time in the final for three years, and they all played well.