ORANGE City brought Cowra’s Blowes Clothing Cup winning run to an end in freezing conditions at Pride Park on Saturday.
Played in rain, a bit of sleet, and icy winds, the two-time defending premiers put together a more cohesive effort than previous matches this season, to score a 24-5 victory over the Eagles.
The performance brought a smile to the face of Orange City co-coach Steve Hamson, after his new-look side had found the going tough in the season’s early rounds.
“That’s probably the best team game we’ve played,” Hamson smiled.
“The last few weeks we’ve probably been looking to individuals to save us and get us out of trouble here and there, whereas today I think we played more to our patterns and played more as a team. That was, I think, the best part of the game.”
Cowra had won their opening three games this year, and probably had a majority of the possession in Saturday’s match, however City were able to make the most of their opportunities to put on points.
It was opportunity which brought about City’s first try, just over six minutes into the game, when the Eagles knocked on 45 metres out from their own line.
City centre Jake Davis pounced on the loose ball before offloading to captain Josh Tremain who pushed through the Cowra defence.
He managed to get the ball away to a powerful Tatafu Na’aniumotu who then flicked the ball to Cameron Cole to run it in next to the posts.
A Mesui Lemoto conversion made it 7-0 to the Lions.
Another opportunity presented itself 13 minutes later, when, from a scrum 10 metres from the Cowra line, City gave a big push and half Tom Nell darted out from the back and dived over in the left corner to make it 12-0.
The rest of the opening half see-sawed but neither side was able to change the score.
The Lions were first to score in the second half, with Na’aniumotu showing his power to charge over the tryline.
Then is was Tremain’s turn to score with his five-pointer earning his side the bonus point.
Cowra had the majority of possession in the final 20 minutes and when City flanker Duncan Young was sin binned, Eagles No.8 Jeremy Montgomery made the most of the extra man to score his side’s only try for the game.
"We played more to our patterns and played more as a team. That was, I think, the best part of the game"
Lemoto showed off a stellar kicking game which Hamson praised.
“That was the difference, I think. He kicked exceptionally well and we did talk about, on a day like today, it’s all about field position,” Hamson said.
Injured Cowra captain Adam Meiklejohn wasn’t disappointed with the loss and said it gave his team a good indication of how they were shaping up this season.
“I think it’s actually a good thing. It puts a bit of perspective of where you’re actually at in the competition,” Meiklejohn explained.
“We had a couple of easy games first up. Narromine last week was a really good game. Now with City we know where we’re at because they’ve played a couple of big teams as well. We’re pretty happy with where we are.”
ORANGE CITY LIONS 24 (Cameron Cole, Tom Nell, Tatafu Na’aniumotu, Josh Tremain tries; Mesui Lemoto 2 conv) def COWRA EAGLES 5 (Jeremy Montgomery try).