Workies rally in second half to down Bears and record first win of 2014

LITHGOW breathed a little easier after scoring their first win of the Group 10 season when they edged out the Blayney Bears 28-26 at Lithgow on Saturday.

Although they secured the two vital points, the win was anything but convincing with Workies looking in trouble when they trailed 16-6 at the break.

To be fair, they did go into the game without a number of their regular players, including big prop Charlie Leaeno and centre Tim Winitana.

Workies looked good in the opening stanza and dominated play, but a couple of mistakes and penalties saw Blayney capitalise on their errors to scoot over for the opening try through Jesse Nixon, who was a thorn in the Lithgow side all match.

The elusive little half finished the match with a hat-trick and made several good breaks.

Lithgow hit back when five-eighth Ben Stewart split the defence up the middle and then passed off to Jamie Clark, who backed up to score under the posts.

With the Josh Howarth conversion the scores were locked at 6-all.

The dropped ball and penalties continued to plague the home side and, with the extra possession, Blayney hammered Workies' try line for a long period with the defence finally cracking when man mountain Terawhiti Cooper crashed over for his side's second try to take the lead at 10-6.

With four minutes left before the break, Blayney received a penalty and executed a wrap around with Nixon going in for his second try.

Josh Rainbow converted to give his side a 16-6 lead at half-time.

At the break, Lithgow coach Graeme Osborne told his players to stay patient and not panic and if they could hold the ball for any sort of a period, they would win the game.

Blayney pushed their lead to 20-6 with a try to five-eighth Terry Brown and things looked fairly bleak for the home side.

Fullback Blake Sheppeard started the comeback with a good try to cut Blayney's lead back to 20-12.

A try to centre Jeremy Fittler, which was converted by Shannon Rhodes, brought Workies to within two points of Blayney at 20-18 and things looked a lot brighter.

They hit the front following Jamie Clark's second try that was followed by a top try to the hard working Josh Howarth pushing their lead to 26-20.

A penalty to Shannon Rhodes put the hosts eight ahead with only seven minutes left on the clock.

Blayney's Jess Nixon scored a consolation try right on the bell and with the Rainbow conversion, the final score finished at 28-26 to Workies.

Osborne was relieved to finally celebrate a win.

"We still have a lot of work to do on our game," Osborne said.

"The boys were a little rusty after not playing for a couple of weeks due to the bye, but I was happy with their effort. It was a good comeback.

"We were a little short out there today, but our forwards stood up to the big Blayney pack and we certainly are happy with gaining our first two points for the win this year.

"It was a must win for us today and hopefully the win will kick start our season."

Best for the home side were five-eighth Ben Stewart, hooker Jamie Clark and captain Chris Rhodes, who stood tall against the strong Blayney pack, and Jeremy Fittler, playing his first game of the season, did a lot of good things in the centre.

For Blayney, their best was Jesse Nixon who had a top game, along with Josh Rainbow and Terry Brown.

LITHGOW WORKIES 28 (Jamie Clark 2, Blake Sheppeard, Josh Howarth, Jeremy Fittler tries; Shannon Rhodes 3, Josh Howarth) def BLAYNEY BEARS 26 (Jesse Nixon 3, Terry Brown, Terawhiti Cooper tries; Josh Rainbow 2 goals).

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