Pine Rivers Bears were made to work hard for their gutsy 30-22 win against St Joseph’s in the Open 3 Northside Competition at Warburton Park Virginia this past weekend.
Brilliantly led by halves pairing Adam Pratt and Gavin Mickleson, the Bears duo were near faultless in producing an all-round effort in the stifling afternoon heat.
Pratt had the ball on a string, crossing for the first try of the afternoon after selling an impressive dummy and then stepping off his left foot to dive over for a great solo try.
At this point, it appeared the Saints were tiring in defence and would pay the price with some poor reading of the next play. Pine Rivers fullback Trent Villis took advantage of a yearning gap and chimed perfectly into the backline to go over for the visitors once again.
But a clumsy effort by the Bears saw Saints winger Declan Molloy take a quick tap from a handover 50m out and caught the Bears unawares.
The speedy flanker raced away to score under the posts, much to the delight of the home crowd.
With the impressive winger converting his own try from in front of the sticks, the 10-6 scoreline looked a little more respectable.
The Saints were in yet again after a dropped ball from the Bears 20m out and quickly levelled the scores at 10-10.
At this stage of the game though, frustration started to creep in with the hot humid conditions taking its toll on the bigger men.
The referee was quick to dispatch one of the Bears players for his involvement in an off the ball incident which saw the Bears reduced to 12 men.
Further tries to Saints Callum Molloy and Bears centre Scott Mutton would see the score at halftime read 16-14 to the Saints.
Both sides were showing signs of frustration and niggle and Molloy was awarded a penalty try for the Saints in the opening minutes of the second half.
Pine Rivers probably had the best part of the next 20 minutes of play, as halves pairing Pratt and Mickleson showed no signs of slowing down and continued to frustrate the Saints in attack.
Pratt would be instrumental in setting up the Bears for their final try of the afternoon, with the halfback using his trademark dummy to find replacement Kodie Hodgins to seal a gutsy effort by the Bears.
Final Score: Pine Rivers Bears def 30 St Joseph’s 22