Walcha vs Moree – Round 5 (written by Henry King) 

The rams made the trip out to Moree to face the Bulls who were top of the table in both grades, A grade tied with Walcha after 4 bonus point wins and reserve grade also undefeated. Reserve Grade had a tough start to the match, losing possession off the kick-off and under pressure early, conceding two tries in the process. The rams were not going to lie down though and forced their way back down into Moree’s half through a number of strong runs and eventually Charlie Keen cut back to the blind side off a bounce pass and barged his way over to score the team’s first try, which he then converted. The rest of the first half was a bit of an arm wrestle but the weight of the Moree pack eventually told on Walcha as they scored again and a lucky late consolation saw the half time score 26-7 to Moree which was flattering to the home side. Walcha kept at it all game but the strength in numbers and size mismatch was too much for Walcha and despite some great defence and a few nice attacking raids, Moree were too strong, prevailing 52-12 and setting a benchmark for where Walcha need to get to. Best for Walcha were 3 points and players player to Charlie Keen, 2 points to Richie Hunt and 1 point to Harry Locke and Billy Porter. Norbury was the leader on the bus trip home… nobody really knows what happened and probably best its kept that way!

A Grade had a similarly bad start, losing the ball off the kick-off and being forced to defend for the first 10 minutes. The defence was solid but eventually it cracked and Moree were able to put on a try and a penalty to lead 10-0. Walcha came back hard though and through some great build-up play, and a big run from Lachie Brown, Simon Newton was able to step inside his opposite number and force his way over for Walcha’s first try. Walcha put all the pressure on again making good metres through Moree’s big pack and centres Bucknell and Cordingley causing headaches for the Bulls backline. Unfortunately, Walcha were struggling for execution, dropping a number of lineouts and backline plays, one of which resulted in Moree streaking away from 70m to take a 17-7 lead. Walcha picked up in the second part of the first half and ran in two tries through Jacob Sherrin and Ed Cordingley, both of which were converted but another concentration lapse late in the half saw Moree kick a penalty goal to see the score 21-20 to Walcha at half time, this time the score was flattering to Walcha as it certainly wasn’t the Rams best half of rugby.

The second half started better but each time Walcha were looking good, they seemed to drop the ball, inviting Moree back into the game. From one midfield scrum though, Moree went blind but Jacob Sherrin read the play perfectly and hit the Moree fly half’s cut ball to perfection, coasting to the tryline to open up a 6-point lead for the Rams. Once again, Moree hit straight back through a well-worked backline move that spanned 60m and the conversion saw Moree leading 27-26 with 15 minutes to play. Richie Hunt’s injection was followed shortly after with his rejection to the sin bin after he thought an elbow to the face of a Moree player would be a good idea, which it usually would be except that the touch judge was watching from about 5 metres away. Despite playing with 14 men, Walcha were playing some of their best rugby of the day and putting wave after wave of attack into Moree’s defence and won a penalty as a result, which Newton put over to see Walcha leading by 2 points with 6 minutes to play. Walcha’s defence was rock solid and it looked like the Rams would hold out but with just 2 minutes left, a penalty as Walcha tried to pilfer gave Moree the last shot, which they converted and scraped past Walcha 30-29. It was a disappointing way to lose but also a good reality check and an opportunity to get back to training and fix up a few areas that were not well executed as we look towards some tough games coming up. Best for Walcha were Lachie Brown with 3 points and players player, Simon Newton with 2 points and 1 point to Jacob Sherrin.

Next week, we take on Barraba at home and the following week, the 25th of May is Ladies Day against Gunnedah.