AND then there were two Clayton Cup hopefuls.
North Tamworth Bears and the West Wyalong Mallee remain the only unbeaten sides in the NSW Country Rugby League competitions after Dunedoo Swans were beaten by the Coonamble Bears last Saturday.
The Bears beat minor premiers Dunedoo Swans 20-12 in their Castlereagh League clash after the Swans had beaten Coonabarabran Unicorns the week before to claim their first ever minor premiership.
The Swans play Trangie Magpies at Dunedoo Sportsground tomorrow while Coonamble and Coonabarabran have vital match ups, the Bears travelling to McGrane Oval, Gilgandra to tackle the Panthers and the Coona Unicorns at home to the fourth-placed Gulgong Terriers.
Coonabarabran and Coonamble are jousting for the second major semi spot while the Warren Bulldogs, who play last placed Coolah Roos at The Bone Yard in Warren can sneak into fourth with a win and Gulgong loss to the Unicorns.
With the Swans seemingly out of Clayton Cup contention now, it laves the West Wyalong Mallee Men and North Tamworth Bears.
West Wyalong are unbeaten in Group 20, having won 15 of their 15 games, scoring 714 points and having 192 scored against them.
They have just one game left, playing third-placed Waratah Tigers at Wade Park, West Wyalong on Sunday.
They have the final round bye and sit six points clear of second-placed Tullibigeal Lake Cargelligo.
North Tamworth Bears have two games left, playing Narrabri at Narrabri on Sunday and Gunnedah at Gunnedah’s Kitchener Park in the final round.
So far the Bears have won all 13 games, scoring 795 points and having 182 scored against them.
They have a points differential of 613 compared to West Wyalong’s 522.
And if both sides go through unbeaten and win their respective competitions for and against will be the deciding factor, confirmed NSW Country chief executive officer Terry Quinn.
“If the teams both remain unbeaten then it goes on points for and against percentages.
“At this stage North Tamworth is way out in front.”
And that is despite a forfeit from Wee Waa last week that could come home to bite the Bears a they prepare for two final round games, both away, against Narrabri and Gunnedah. Not only were the Bears left in the lurch last weekend with a large amount of food going to waste when it was pulled out of cold storage on the Friday night to thaw out for the expected Saturday game.
However, the Bears also lost the opportunity t o improve their for and against even further and also missed out on the match fitness as well.
They head to Narrabri’s Collins Park on Sunday with just 46 minutes of game time from the past two weeks.
Meanwhile Gunnedah Bulldogs host third-placed West Lions at Kitchener Park tomorrow while Wee Waa host Oxley Diggers on Sunday.
FIRST GRADE: North Tamworth 26, Gunnedah 20, West Lions 16, Narrabri 12, Wee Waa 4, Oxley Diggers 0.