IT’S a tremendous feel good story.
About a group of blokes that obviously enjoy each other’s company and have a connection, whether deep-rooted or superficial, to the township of Woodstock.
Individually, they all have a love of rugby.
As a combination they are raising eyebrows as a talented side that is forming a reputation as modified specialists.
On Saturday, this mateship prevailed over the Manly Marlins might when the Woodstock Wallys won the Cowra Twilight 10s tournament.
The crowd favourites got the jump on the Sydney Shute Shield side and held on to get their name on the cup in just their second outing at the annual pre-season event in its 22nd year.
Although the 31-19 final scoreline indicates an attacking flair to be reckoned with, ultimately it was their staunch defence and will to stand shoulder to shoulder that enabled the Wallys to grab the top prize.
Woodstock’s path to hold the trophy aloft was far from an easy road, overcoming 2013 runners-up Queanbeyan Whites 14-12 in the semi-final with many in the stands predicting they had played their final one game too soon.
The Wallys had withstood a barrage from the Whites, as weight of possession and territory was heavily against them, to scrape home.
However, the Wallys, who were surprise packet semi-finalists last year, exploded from the blocks in the final piling on three converted tries to have the pre-tournament favourites and defending title holders on the back foot down 21-7 at the break.
The next 15 minutes was just as intriguing despite the continuous, yet welcome, rain that fell throughout the day.
An early five-pointer to Woodstock extended the lead before possession and territory swung in the Marlins’ favour.
As Manly clawed its way back into the contest crossing the stripe twice, the Wallys began to run on empty legs.
But, a smart kicking game, together with some gamesmanship, allowed the 2013 John Thornett recipients for playing the game in the right spirit, to climb to the top of the mountain for a popular win.
In the Plate final, Queanbeyan Whites number two side overcame a spirited Young Yabbies 17-12.
It gave the Queanbeyan side back-to-back titles and demonstrated the depth the club has at its disposal.
Although conditions weren’t conducive to expansive rugby on Saturday, players adapted well providing open play with relatively few handling errors.