A look back at another fascinating round of action in the Griffin Legal John I Dent Cup.
Eagles 33 Vikings 33
Owls 40 Easts 35
The Uni Norths Owls have taken their fifth win of the season after overcoming a resurgent and determined Easts side at the ANU sportsgrounds.
Rather than being a game of two halves, momentum swung throughout the match like a pendulum, eventually ending in the Owls favour with a much needed 40-35 victory.
Looking for their first victory of the season, Easts applied the pressure early on, keeping the Owls back in their own half which was rewarded with the game’s opening try.
Langi Lolotonga put the first points on the board for the visitors and Darcy Eason’s conversion gave them a 0-7 lead early in the match.
It wasn’t long before the home side hit back with Byron Hollingworth-Dessent putting the ball down in the left corner, giving Hamish Dawson a hard job from the sidelines.
Despite the tricky angle, the conversion was successful and the scores equalled up at seven a piece.
Though the match evened out over the next few minutes, the Owls took the lead for the first time in the game with another left corner try, again converted to now have a seven point advantage.
Easts got back to level with the Owls after George Morseu broke away for the try from the other half, sprinting away from the opposition to add five points which became seven after a successful conversion.
The tie didn’t last long as the Owls mounted a resurgence shortly after conceding points, breaking through for their third try after a few attempts close to the line, now leading 21-14 as the first half started to ramp up.
Late in the first half, Easts had multiple opportunities on the Owls try line, two tries being held up until Tiko Twist went over in the left corner, bringing the scores back to 21-19 as the half-time whistle blew.
Just as they had done in the first half, it was Easts who opening the scoring account in the second 40 minutes of the game with Morseu taking a double, putting his side back in front 21-26 after a successful Eason conversion.
A fast run through the defence shortly after a line-out gave Morseu his hat-trick, going over in the left corner as Eason converted the try, extending Easts lead out to 21-33 early in the second half.
In their next set, the Owls struck back with a solid seven points thanks to a try close to the posts, reeling their rivals back in with the score now at 28-33.
Building off that momentum, another Owls try came moments later from their Number 9, putting the home side back in the lead by two points at 35-33 after the conversion.
A penalty to Easts gave the visitors a reprieve from the home side’s attack, retaking the lead by a solitary point in the process to go into the final portion of the game with scores at 35-36.
The pendulum had a chance to swing in the Owls favour when they had the chance at retaking the lead with a penalty kick in the closing minutes but the kick was unsuccessful, letting Easts retain the lead.
With only minutes remaining, Dennis Waight gave the Owls their overdue try to take the lead of the game again, going into the final minutes with a 40-36 lead to try and retain.
A tight finish to the match saw Easts throw everything at the Owls defence but they couldn’t break through, the home side keeping their five point advantage through to the end of the game.
Words: Jordan Mulach
Wests 14 Queanbeyan 50
The Queanbeyan Whites put on an absolute display of brilliant running rugby on Saturday afternoon at Jamison Oval, demolishing Western Districts at home 48-14.
The match began with Queanbeyan kicking off to Wests. The visitors showing a lot of promise from the get go but were unable to convert their possession into points.
Both teams struggled to hold on to the ball. Misjudged passes, handling errors and unneeded miracle passes cost each team valuable possession.
Wests definitely had the strongest scrum. They absolutely monstered the Queanbeyan forward pack all day. Forcing penalties and even a couple of tight heads.
Whites halfback Mitchell Douch opened the scoreboard as he showed some skill from the back of the scrum. Placing the perfect grubber in behind Wests defensive line, regathered it, to then score in the corner.
Wests were quick to bounce back scoring only a couple of minutes later. It was the first time Wests had managed to make their way into Queanbeyan’s 22’. A successful conversion from Declan Meredith put the home side in front 7-5 to the delight of the crowd.
Douch scored his second try of the day after an incredible chip over the top from the sideline from Rian Hamilton landed perfectly for Douch who raced across the line.
The Whites ended the first half perfectly. Will Goddard could of kicked it out of play to end the half but opted to pass it out to his fullback Jamie Marmont who beat all remaining defenders to go the full 80 metres.
Going into the sheds at halftime, Queanbeyan lead 19-7.
Queanbeyan started the second half where they finished in the first half. The forwards were able to pick holes in defence and beat their opposition in the breakdown and the backs were carving them up left right and centre.
An easy try to the Whites in the corner to Rian Hamilton off the back of a scrum only 5m out got them gaining all the momentum needed to pull off a big lead.
Wests showed heart though, some silky skills from Declan Meredith off the restart where he regathered his own kick and made about 30 metres was followed by a quick thinking Ryan Kiley who dived under the posts. But that was about it for Wests for the rest of the afternoon.
Queanbeyan went on to score four more unanswered tries thanks to some great running rugby but also some terrible defence from Wests.
Tries were awarded to Hamilton again, Pierre Mounal and Carl Elliot who put an incredible performance together for his team.
The win for Queanbeyan elevates back in front of Wests on the table. Finals may be hard to reach for them but they’re still giving 100% every weekend.