THEY might have made the Group 10 Rugby League grand final for the past three seasons, but Orange CYMS’ poor record at the pre-season Bathurst Panthers Knockout continued at Carrington Park on Friday night.
While the knockout title is by no means as prestigious as the Group 10 premier league crown, it does carry a nice cash prize each year.
The past two years the 2010-11 Group 10 premiers had twice lost in the first round to Cowra, going down 20-16 and 18-16.
The year before that they won a controversial first round match against Orange Hawks - prevailing 26-12 in a game which was ended four minutes early - but then fell short of making the decider when losing to hosts Bathurst Panthers.
In 2013 it was another first round exit for CYMS and this time it was local rivals Orange Hawks who were responsible.
Hawks had the first chance to put points on the board when fullback Joe Lasagavibau was taken high in a tackle by Ali Beale after a strong 45-metre run.
However, Todd Barrow pushed his kick wide and failed to put the ball dead, giving CYMS the chance to counter-attack.
Beale made the initial break then found fullback Tim Bassmann in support, the flying number one too quick for the Hawks’ cover defence as he ran away to score under the posts.
Ryan Prevett added the extras to give CYMS a 6-0 lead moments after they had faced the prospect of a 2-0 deficit.
That was to be the only score of the first half but Hawks did enjoy better field position than their rivals with prop Arty Shead making good yards up the centre.
Hawks then began the second half well and were unlucky not to have advantage played when Barrow was put into space just as the referee blew his whistle.
With that chance gone and Hawks coughing up the ball soon after, momentum swung back in CYMS’ favour.
The green and golds earned back-to-back sets inside Hawks’ quarter then drew a penalty, CYMS opting to take the shot at goal which Prevett slotted to make it 8-0 with 12 minutes left.
It appeared as if CYMS were set to face knockout nemesis’ Cowra in round two but Hawks had other ideas.
Brock McGarity split CYMS’ defence up the middle of the ruck and ran 20 metres to score, Barrow putting Hawks within two points with nine minutes to go when he added the extras.
The next set after strong runs from Lasagavibau and Shead then a good chase when the ball was rolled into the in-goal area, Hawks appeared to have scored again.
The referee disagreed but they were to have one more shot at taking the lead.
Lasagavibau was on the end of another high tackle with 90 seconds left, the resulting penalty carrying Hawks within striking distance.
With 36 seconds left on the clock halfback Sandon Gibbs-O’Neil stepped his way through CYMS’ defence to clinch the win, Barrow adding the extras to make the final score 12-8.
ORANGE HAWKS 12 (Sandon Gibbs-O’Neil, Brock McGarity tries; Todd Barrow 2 goals) def ORANGE CYMS 8 (Tim Bassmann try; Ryan Prevett 2 goals).