UNBEATEN competition leaders, Forster-Tuncurry, have welcomed the news that their outstanding flanker and club captain, Tom Bolton, has been cleared of a broken ankle and may be fit for Saturday’s rugby union clash with Gloucester at Gloucester on Saturday.
An x-ray has shown there is no fracture and, combined with the bye that the Dolphins had last weekend, Bolton is making a pleasing recovery.
He must now satisfy coaches Ron McCarthy and Shane Dean this week that he is well enough to play without aggravating the injury.
While the Dorvik Steel Dolphins had the weekend off, the Wallamba Bulls were at Tuncurry, scoring four tries to two only to be defeated, 26-29, by the second-placed Myall Coast Mudcrabs through Alex Jervis’ long-range penalty goal from the left wing five minutes into extra time.
The Bulls took little consolation from the fact that they gained a bonus point for their four tries for they fatally conceded a 15-9 penalty count, allowing Jervis to hammer home seven goals from nine attempts.
The Mudcrabs’ acting coach, Hugh “Flash” Gordon, a former tigerish 100 first grade game hooker with Sydney club, Gordon, consoled the Bulls’ stalwart, Rodney Watt: “A draw would have been a fair result.”
In other games, the Harrington Hurricanes enjoyed their best game of the year, restricting the Old Bar Clams to a 28-5 win at Esme Hogan Field while Manning River defeated Gloucester, 29-10, at Taree Rugby Park. Club presidents past and present, Rick Kent and Chris Tsembis, have worked prodigiously to keep Harrington afloat.
Their midfield combination of Ben Northam and Greg Hamilton was especially important against last year’s champions.
The Mudcrabs gained an early superiority through hooker Daniel Dorante’s scrum and it came as no surprise when Number Eight Dayne Applebee snared a lineout to free centre Brendan Cusack in a weaving run through left midfield for the try and a 10-0 lead.
The game took on a new complexion when Dorante came off early in the second half with a gashed head, rival coach Kevin Crompton rearranging his front row with Jeremy Segol moving impressively to loose-head and flanker Daniel Hessing to hooker beside tight-head Aaron Gordon.
Thereafter, the Bulls’ scrum became dominant with their inside back quartet of Peter Segol, Chris Tout, Jared Wynter and Tom Dooker causing widespread alarm in their rivals’ ranks, Dooker ‘s powerful burst and stab kick creating the first of Wynter’s two tries.
Soon after half-time, winger Jayden Watt bridged the gap to 13-12, deftly completing the Bulls’ second try through Wynter ‘s combination with Dooker.
Myall’s five-eighth, Ben Simon, a tall, strong-running back with a long kick, attacked on the short side and dummied his way over for the try and a 20-12 lead, but Hessing’s quick tap caught Myall napping and Wynter blasted over again.
Although Tout ignited his team’s fourth try by winger Watt, indiscretions counted against the Bulls. Finally, when a defender obstructed Myall from tackling lively fullback Rory Miller, Jervis’ penalty goal cost them the game. Wynter was outstanding, but player of the match was 20-year-old Wallamba skipper, Jeremy Segol, with his bruising charges and powerful scrummaging while James Watt and Henry Hiten were vigorous back rowers.
At the base of their scrum, Myall’s replacement half Matt Whitney made some strong runs with Jervis, their match-winning goalkicker, receiving the players’ player award. Myall Coast 29 defeated Wallamba 26. Old Bar 28 defeated Harrington 5. Manning River 29 defeated Gloucester 10.