No Magical Finish for the Unicorns
Played in ideal conditions at Coonabarabran, the Unicorns struggled to stay with the visitors, having had limited game time in recently due to a bye in the last competition round, then sitting down whilst the minor semi-final was played, before narrowly downing the Doggies in the major semi-final, then having another week off whilst their grand final opponent was being decided by the preliminary final.
However nothing can be taken away from Warren who were in a tenacious mood throughout the full eighty minutes and they came away as deserved winners in a high scoring game that saw them run in eight tries to the Unicorn’s six.
In fact the Unicorns only hit the lead once in the game, that being in the 15th minute when their busy fullback Luke Taylor dodged his way over from 20 metres out to add to a Scott Watton try that had been scored a few minutes earlier on the back of a good run from the blue and gold’s half back, Jarvis Watton.
At that stage Coonabarabran held 10 to six lead after Warren’s hooker, Adam Pascoe having opened the scoring for the afternoon in the eighth minute when he ran into a yawning gap after Matt Hall had split the Unicorns defence.
Unfortunately for Unicorn supporters that was to be their only real cause for joy for the match as the Bulldogs took control with tries to man of the match, Thomas Wilson, after he burst up the middle in a great dummy half scoot, followed by fullback Anthony Fuller puncturing the defence from 15 out soon after and then the Doggies centre Marc Bond latched on to a well weighted cross field kick from Hall to give the visitors a 24 to 10 lead.
The Unicorns narrowed the gap when Dylan Crawley was able to force his way over just prior to half time for a 24 to 14 score at the break.
Taylor edged his team back into the contest when he dummied his way over not long after the resumption of play and the Unicorns trailed by just four points at 24 to 20, but that was to be as close as they would get, and slowly but surely the Bulldogs took control of proceedings and began to pull away on the scoreboard, getting out to 34 to 20 courtesy of tries to Hall who went over under the posts after a strong driving run and Bond who scored his second out wide after Wilson had once again split the defence wide open with a scintillating run.
Jarvis Watton added to the Coonabarabran total with a converted try when he plucked an intercept to race 20 metres to score, but the Dogs soon replied when Damien Tegart was on the spot to force a rebound off a Unicorn player in goal and whilst there was still a quarter of the game to go, it was looking a difficult task for Coonabarabran with the score board reading 40 to 26.
That task became insurmountable when half back Jake Hall scored a converted try, followed by a Fuller field goal to blow the Doggies out to 47 to 26 and despite the fact that the Unicorn’s front rower, Glen Wetherall, was able to crash over to complete the scoring, it was too late and the premiership silverware was heading to Warren with the final score being 47 to 32
Apart from being named as the player of the grand final, Warren’s Thomas Wilson was also named as the Castlereagh League Player of the Year to cap off a wonderful season for himself and his club.
Castlereagh League Grand Final
Warren Bulldogs 47 (Marc Bond 2, Anthony Fuller, Thomas Wilson, Jake Hall, Adam Pascoe, Damian Tegart, Matt Hall tries, Matt Stephens 6, Fuller goals, Fuller field goal) defeated Coonabarabran Unicorns 32 (Luke Taylor 2, Scott Watton, Jarvis Watton, Glen Weatherall, Dylan Crawley tries, Taylor 4 goals)
Half time; Warren 24, Coonabarabran 14
Man of the Match; Thomas Wilson (Warren)
Castlereagh League Player of the Year; Thomas Wilson (Warren)