THE GWYDIR River Rats are wondering what they have to do to win a New England Rugby Union second grade grand final after going down to a try in the last minute for the second year in a row.
Robb College was the spoiler for the Rats this time as the students scored in the last minute through Jack Grant.
Seamus Reen still needed to land the conversion but made no mistake and Robb won it 14-13.
Gwydir River led 10-7 at the break and 13-7 soon after but it was all Robb after that and the try finally came.
“Robb has always been a second-half team,” captain Cameron Ward said.
“The last few games we’ve been patient and waited for our opportunities to come and we’ve been able to put points on at the right time.”
The two teams were locked at 7-all early on when Andy Turbayne and Travis Allen swapped tries.
The second half was a grind but Robb had the better of the territory.
“They’re a tough side,” Ward said.
“They grind us every time.
“They’re easily the toughest side we’ve played, Bingara.
“The front row was unreal.
“Our backs ran some beautiful lines as well.
“It was a team effort.”
The result and the way the game finished was a bitter pill for Gwydir, especially after winning the minor premiership and after losing in similar circumstances last season.
On that occasion, St Albert’s scored an intercept try in the dying minutes to steal the trophy but the competition’s newest club is determined to go one better next year.
“It’s tough,” Gwydir captain Jon Alliston said.
“We worked really hard this year.
“We finished on top and won the semi to get here.
“I think we all played out of our skins.
“We’ll be back next year.
“We’ll keep building as a club and hopefully we’ll get it next year.”
Earlier there was a good result for another club with high hopes for the future.
Guyra won the third grade grand final with a 12-5 success against the UNE Barbarians.
After dropping out of the top grades, the Ghosts were just glad to have a team this year but they did a little better than that by winning the minor and major titles.
Matt Turner and James Lenehan scored tries for the Ghosts to give them a 12-nil lead before UNE closed the gap.
Club stalwart Lucas Brown said the Ghosts were now aiming for a return to the top grade.
“It’s a stepping stone for us,” he said.
“From where we were at the start when we might not have had a team at all and there would have been no rugby in Guyra, we’ve kept it alive.
“It’s kept the game going in Guyra and will help us get back into first grade.”