Tamworth clawed their way back after a lacklustre first half to get within striking distance of Robb College on Saturday but again couldn’t quite get over the line as the students prevailed 29-19.
Down 24-3 at half-time, the Magpies scored 16 unanswered points to close within just a converted try at one stage.
“But we dropped the ball from the kick-off and within a couple of minutes we missed a couple of tackles and they scored and it was game over,” Magpies coach Peter Burke said.
Chasing back-to-back wins the Magpies lacked intensity in the first half.
“In the first half we were quite lethargic and didn’t clean out well. That led to a lack of space in the backs and allowed them to dominate,” Burke said.
“The good thing was they responded in the second half and we got ourselves back into the game.”
“I was really pleased with the way the boys responded in the second half when the chips were down.”
It had shades of their first round encounter when the Magpies almost pulled off a miraculous draw, although Burke conceded if they had have won they “would have stolen it”.
“At the end of the day I feel like the better team won,” he said.
Blake Clout was a standout at outside centre. He played his heart out and made a lot of metres, particularly in the second half.
Rob Creighton also turned in “a good solid tough performance” in the second row while Jimmy Bracken played well both ball in hand and in defence.
In the other game Armidale accounted for Barbarians 18-12.
The competition takes a break now for the June long weekend.
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