Scone on top of ladder alone

SCONE Thoroughbreds went top of the A Plus Contracting Group 21 table when they disposed of Aberdeen 50-18 at Scone Park yesterday.

It came after the Singleton/Greta Branxton clash at Greta Oval was called off on Saturday due to the rain and Saturday night’s 24-all draw between Muswellbrook and Denman at Muswellbrook’s Olympic Park.

Denman “snuck”its draw with the Rams after trailing 24-14 with six minutes to play.

The Devils scored two late tries to salvage a point,  captain-coach Blake Dureau said.

“We had a good win at home last week and started all right again this week,” Dureau said yesterday.

“Both games have been pretty scrappy and, while we finished well last week, we had a bit of a lull in the second half this week. 

“We forced a few passes and gave away some penalties.

“ However we showed a bit of character to bounce back late.”

Dureau said 17-year-old Hamish Wolfgang made an unexpected first grade debut, being called up 20 minutes before the game and then scoring two games on the wing.

“He was outstanding. He  came up with the two tries and had a strong game,” Dureau said.

“He’s strong and has good pace – good attributes.”

Muswellbrook Rams captain-coach Josh Pearsol was disappointed with the result.

“I thought we were the better side for 75 minutes,” Pearsol said.

“We just lost  it in the last five.”

Inexperience might have cost the young Rams who were best served by Jake Pottinger and prop Jeff Saariko.

“We made a couple of mistakes –  some poor defence – and that cost us.

“It allowed them to score two quick tries.

“There’s not much we can do about that now.

“We’ve  just got to learn to play for 80 minutes.”

Scone Thoroughbreds grabbed outright lead after just two rounds with a good win at home against the Tigers.

The win was set up by a controlled first half.

“It was a much better performance control-wise,” captain-coach Daniel Ritter said.

“We didn’t turn the ball over as much this week, especially in the first half when we had a completion rate of about 80 per cent.”

He said it was a “real good team performance” on top of the first-half success.

“We didn’t have to do too much tackling in the first half and had a good breeze behind us too. 

“We scored some good tries too – some of them long range from 50 and 60m.”

Justin Apthorpe was one of the stars, the former centre relishing the move to five-eighth and scoring three tries while Country fullback Tim Smith also scored twice.

Prop James Barker came off night shift to also produce another strong performance.

“He had close to 20 hit-ups, took us forward and got some good second phase for us too,” Ritter said.

Scone now plays Singleton at ResCo Park next Sunday (2pm kickoff), with Denman and Greta Branxton in a grand final replay at Denman Oval next Sunday. 

Aberdeen and Muswellbrook, both winless, match up at Aberdeen’s McKinnon Field, on Saturday night (5.15pm kickoff).

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