The winning luck of the Canowindra Tigers ran out in the second last round, going down to the Manildra Rhinos on Sunday 28 – 18 at the Oval.
Manildra were off to a flying start and scored two tries, spreading the ball wide and leaving the Tigers short.
The score stood at 6 nill after 10 minutes. The Tigers found it hard to get any early momentum, as a result of Manildra’s kicking game keeping the Tigers pinned in the corners. This resulted in another try, which pushed their lead to 10 nill.
From a repeat set, the Manildra dummy half was able to score close to the post. The try conversion pushed their lead out to 16 unreplied points, with only 14 minutes left in the first half.
The Tigers’ managed to force the ball loose the first time in the Manildra twenty. Clyburn was held up over the line by the strong Manildra defence.
A smart play found Kain Earsman free to dive. It wasn’t to be though, given a forward pass.
The Tigers’ mounting pressure resulted with a try to Martin Ferguson. This was converted to reduce Manildra’s lead to 10 points at half-time.
Tiger Nathan Whatman came off with a rib injury, which shortened their bench.
They pushed off well in the second half though, Jonico Hardwick split the defence to run 80 meters to score and the difference was only 4 points.
Their early momentum attacking down the right side saw Jonico again find some space and then Brodie Friend backing up to score under the post. The home side were leading 18-16.
The remainder of the half was a traditional tussle for the lead. Both sides were tiring late in the game.
With 10 minutes to go, Manildra put over a penalty to lock up the score 18 all.
From a scrum, the Rhinos beat their de-fence to score out wide and take the lead 24 -18 with five minutes left on the clock. Another cheeky try sealed the 28-18 win for the Manildra Rhinos.
This weekend is the final round of the Woodbridge Cup, with the Tigers taking on the Eugowra Eagles on their home turf. It will be the Eagles’ 100 year celebrations on Saturday.
It will be a battle down to the wire for the minor premiership.
The Tigers remain on top of the table, only leading on for and against points.
The team hopes to see a few players come back from injury for this important encounter.