Walcha vs Pirates – Round 12 (written by Henry King)
Walcha played host to Pirates on a big double header with the Rugby League Club last Saturday in two very important matches in the context of the Rams season. Reggies start was less than ideal and despite some solid defence, they found themselves down 6-0 after 15 miutes. Most of the first half was very tight with the Rams defending the ladder leaders very well but just unable to click in attack and break the game open. Walcha’s set piece was very strong and they were able to put a lot of pressure on the Pirates but went into half time trailing 6-0. Pirates were first to score in the second half but Walcha were starting to find some form with Troy Yarnold in his third return from injury linking up well in the mid field and Wally Davidson in his usual form dominating in the forwards. Tom Wake got over the line to narrow the gap and Walcha scored again shortly after to see the score 13-12 with about 20 minutes to play. The final 20 minutes were some of the most exciting all year with Wally Davidson taking over the kicking duties from Lachie Fletcher who went down with a knee injury and taking a penalty goal to take the lead for the first time in the match. Prates took the lead back through a penalty but Walcha again got another penalty and regained the lead 18-16 with 5 minutes to play. Pirates then scored a try and many though the omeback was over but not the Rams boys. Tom Rose showed that his ankle injury has not slowed down or sped up his quick taps and before long, Walcha was back on the attack and after a penalty 5 metres out, Wally Davidson fooled no-one from Walcha but everyone from Pirates as he took it himself and scored next to the posts then converted his own try to take the win 25-23. A huge win to keep the reggies in touch with the top of the ladder as they continue their charge towards the finals. 3 points and players player went to Wally Davidson, 2 points to Tom Rose and 1 point to Troy Yarnold.
A Grade knew that the Pirates side they faced would be much improved from the round 3 drubbing Walcha handed out 65-14 and so it proved as Pirates came out firing and off the back of a ruck penalty, Pirates scored first. Walcha were back at them again though and took a couple of penalty goals to reduce the lead to 1 point. Walcha were looking to go on the attack as the forwards laid a great platform but a mis-directed grubber saw Pirates fullback take off around the Walcha backline and he found his winger in support to score their second try. Walcha picked up another two penalties in the half to see a half time score of 14-12 with Walcha feeling confident as they were playing well.
Early in the second half, Dom Bower showed he wasn’t about to be outdone by his opposite number and from a kick return, put on the afterburners to gas the Pirates backline and swerved through most of the Pirates team before Simon Newton ran a good support line and flattened the ref, Dom was dragged down a metre short but Sione Kamoto was there to clean up and plant the ball over the line. A lapse in concentration off the kick-off saw Richie Hunt owing a carton and Pirates scored straight away to level at 19-all. Walcha forwards were starting to get the better of Pirates in the reverse of the past 3 years as Walcha’s scrum was totally dominant and gave Pirates no front foot ball and in the mid-field, Lachie Brown was hunting down any stray Pirate looking to poke his nose through the Walcha line. This dominance was setting up great field position and Thor Crombie took a dart from 10 metres out and slipped a pass to Jake Sherrin who finished the try off. Shortly after, Sione Kamoto had his second as he charged into the line and was brought down about 20metres out but popped back up sevens style and raced away to the tryline, throwing in a couple of goose steps for good measure just in case no-one knew he was Tongan. Pirates hit back again to score another try but by this stage it was clear that Walcha had the stronger forward pack and were not going to allow the Pirates to come back. Tom Bucknell put the icing on the cake with a nice in and away and palm to take the score to 38-24 with 2 minutes to play. Pirates did manage a late consolation after Walcha turned the ball back over but the damage was done and Walcha emerged victorious over Pirates at home for the first time since 2009. Best for Walcha were Sione Kamoto with 3 points, Dom Bower with 2 points and players player and 1 point to Lachie Brown. This weekend sees Walcha travel to Quirindi before a top of the table clash with Moree on sponsors day on the 20th of July.