HISTORY will be made on Sunday when Orange Hawks and Orange CYMS line up in the Group 10 grand final.
It will be the first time in the Group’s history Hawks and CYMS have played out the premier league decider.
CYMS earned the right to take on minor premiers Hawks when they fought out a tough 28-20 preliminary final victory over Lithgow at Wade Park yesterday.
After recording the important win, CYMS captain-coach Mick Sullivan was already planning for the week ahead.
“We’ll get over this week first and enjoy the week. We haven’t got them [Hawks] yet, hopefully we can get them at the death,” Sullivan said.
“We’re carrying injuries but I guess we’re carrying match fitness too. We’ve had some hard weeks and we’ve got one more to go.”
CYMS made a great start when replacement winger Scott Piper made the most of an overlap to score in the right corner six minutes into the game.
It was 10-nil after 10 minutes when CYMS centre Ali Beale intercepted a Lithgow ball and ran 90 metres to score, with Ben McAlpine adding the extras.
Beale’s second try, a spectacular grounding of the ball while somersaulting towards the dead-ball line off a Sullivan grubber, and McAlpine’s conversion had CYMS looking good at 16-nil after 18 minutes.
The play levelled up and both sides were guilty of handling errors and giving away penalties.
CYMS had chances to add to their total with Riley Law held up over the try line twice within a minute.
Minutes before the break, Lithgow made the most of their possession and forward Brendon Van Veen went through a gap to score. Taf Nichols’ conversion made it 16-6.
Whatever was said at half-time in the Lithgow sheds worked before Workies came out in the second half and had the score back to 16-all within seven minutes.
Van Veen scored his second before Nichols also went in on the back of an Adnan Saleh line break.
Both teams were desperate in defence as they tried to repel attacking raids.
CYMS broke the deadlock when Brett Sargent took on the line and barged his way over with 24 minutes left on the clock.
McAlpine made the most of a penalty goal attempt three minutes later to give CYMS a 22-16 lead.
It quickly became 28-16 when Beale intercepted another ball and sprinted 40 metres to score, with McAlpine kicking the conversion.
Lithgow certainly weren’t finished and when they next got their hands on the ball, winger Brent Brogan regathered a bomb and scored in the right corner.
Penalties and dropped ball became a feature of the final 10 minutes as both sides tried to work their way into the grand final.
The CYMS defence held Lithgow out as the home side hung on for a tough win.
Lithgow coach Graeme Osborne said CYMS made his side pay early.
“It was one of those games. You can’t give sides like that good starts,” Osborne said.
“I thought our comeback was really good. We’ve got a few injuries and we had a couple of people coming back from injury. It was a good, tough battle and they hung in there right to the end.”
Lithgow were well served by Luke Morris as well as Jamie Clark and Chris Rhodes.
Sullivan described his team’s performance as patchy, but said his players would work on getting injuries right and look forward to the grand final.
“It’s this time of year where you’re carrying injuries and that’s the way it is for both teams,” Sullivan said.
“Hawks will be fresh and ready to go. We’ll just keep it tight and we should have match fitness.”
n ORANGE CYMS 28 (Ali Beale 3, Scott Piper, Brett Sargent tries; Ben McAlpine 4 goals) def LITHGOW WORKIES 20 (Brendon Van Veen 2, Taf Nichols, Brent Brogan tries; Taf Nichols 2 goals).