TAMWORTH was rejoicing rare back to back wins at Tamworth Rugby Park on Saturday after turning a three-point half-time deficit into a 10-3 win.
The Magpies were made to fight hard for the win by a tenacious Barraba and got home on the back of an intercept try to centre Bryce Daniels.
It came midway through the second half and proved the difference in the end.
The conditions didn’t make for a free-flowing game and both teams struggled with their handling and to find their rhythm.
“These sorts of games are hard. It’s wet, it’s cold, it’s never going to be pretty rugby,” Magpies co-coach Tony Mills said.
“The aim is to simplify the play.”
He couldn’t have asked for a much better start, with the Magpies applying good pressure at the ruck from the kick-off and earning a penalty.
But Brendan Hunt’s kick was off target.
After that, the Magpies created some good chances but couldn’t turn them into anything of value with their hands and some good covering defence from the Rams denying them.
The visitors had fewer opportunities but went into half-time up 3-nil after seeing off a late challenge from the Magpies when they were awarded a penalty after the bell.
Feeling they had the Rams under pressure, they went for the quick tap rather than the points, but just when it looked like they had the Rams’ defence stretched, they coughed up the ball.
Compounding that, from the ensuing play, winger Lachie McIntosh was binned for a dangerous tackle.
Still, Mills wasn’t too disappointed with their first half and said the key message at halftime was about being more decisive.
“We let ourselves down a couple of times in that aspect,” he said.
He put a lot of their lack of rhythm down to the conditions but they also struggled to stop the Rams spoiling at the breakdown.
“We were allowing them to make the rucks messy,” Mills said.
“We’d talked about keeping that clean.”
They had the best of the chances early in the second half but again their kicking let them down.
The Rams enjoyed more of the possession and territory in the second half and were building some promising attack when Daniels read the play and swooped on the decisive intercept.
Adam Penman converted to make it 7-3.
He then added a penalty with a few minutes to go to effectively seal the win.
Breakaway Harry Veitch was again in the thick of everything and it was hard to go past him as the Magpies’ best.
Jack Barker, Michael Zucker and Rhys Duncan also worked hard all game, while Kieran McHugh in the centres was defensively “quite dominant”.
He was also prominent in attack and gave the Magpies good go-forward with some strong runs.
Mills thought Matt Blanch also stood up at half-back.
Rams coach Ben Crowley thought the game could have gone either way.
“We had enough opportunities to nearly steal it,” he said.
They just couldn’t turn them into points.
Crowley found it hard to get into the game. Not just the conditions but the game was very stop-start, which made it hard to find any rhythm.
“The forwards were really good and we defended really well but we couldn’t form any structure,” he said.
He said their loose forwards were really good – Tom Clear, Adam Scanlon and Blake Etheridge.