ARMIDALE jumped clear again at the top of the New England standings after St Albert’s faltered against college rivals Robb and the Blues beat Barbarians.
The Blues bounced back from their last-round loss to Albies with a 21-5 win over Baa Baas at Moran Oval.
Across town, Robb won their first Parents Weekend clash for a while with a hard-fought 18-11 victory.
It was their second win over Albies in as many meetings this season after beating them in the pre-season Armidale Knockout.
The Blues had easily accounted for the Baa Baas when they last met but found things tougher on Saturday, especially in the second half.
“We scored all our points in the first half,” co-coach Anthony McMillan said.
“The second half we were defending in our 22.”
“It was outstanding defence from our blokes in the second half.”
From an attacking perspective, it was a bit frustrating.
“Nothing was clicking together,” McMillan said.
“We’d get out (off 22) and two seconds later we were back in.”
He said their lineout was knocked around a bit early, with skipper Ed Hiscox forced off with a knee injury, and second-rowers a bit in short supply.
It probably took them about 20 minutes to find their feet.
“Once we started going forward we started to find the gaps,” McMillan said.
“But once again our passing and lack of communication let us down on many occasions.”
Despite being under the pump for a lot of the second half, McMillan felt they were always in control of the game.
He had no hesitation in giving hooker Anthony Piddington as their best.
“No-one came even close to him,” McMillan said.
Half-back Brodie Rigby and number eight Matt Croft also played well.