COWRA has thumped defending Group 10 premiers Orange CYMS, running in four defining second-half tries to complete a dominant 38-22 victory at Wade Park.
Locked at 16-all at the break after a two thrilling tries in the space of 10 minutes from centre Dan Stuart brought the green and golds back into the contest, Cowra lifted a gear on the back of pivot Tim Holman and a dominant pack.
Holman scored two second half tries - completing a well-earned hat-trick - while tries to Aidan Craig and KJ Wood sailed the Magpies out to a 38-16 lead.
A late converted consolation try to CYMS prop Zac Bohan edged the home side closer, but the result was long gone by then as Cowra soared to announce themselves as serious contenders in the race for the 2014 Group 10 title.
Magpies coach Steve Sutton labelled his side’s 16-point triumph “easily our best performance of the year”.
“We had to (win), if we get beat here we’re right back in the pack,” Sutton said, with Cowra now entrenched in fourth place on the competition ladder, two wins off top three sides Bathurst St Pat’s and CYMS.
“We’ve got the bye next week then Blayney ... this was a really big one for us. It was a four point game. We go into the bye now on a positive note and build for a few weeks’ time and go from there.”
Disjointed and at times appearing lethargic, CYMS were kept in the contest solely by Stuart.
The lively centre was brilliant around the big Cowra forwards, scoring the try of the game mid-way through the first half when he scooped the ball up from dummy-half on his own 40 metre line, split the Magpies ruck defence then left fullback Jeremy Gordon for dead with a brilliant left foot step.
In a scathing assessment of his team, CYMS injured captain-coach Mick Sullivan said there were no positives to take from Sunday’s loss, his side’s first defeat in 2014.
“I’m under no illusions where we’re at, we’ve been playing shit footy and getting through,” a visibly frustrated Sullivan fired.
“I don’t even know if that’s what we need, I think the boys still won’t respond. I’d like to hope they will individually, but I’m under no pretences as to where we’re at. We’re a pretty ordinary footy side at the moment.”
As poor as CYMS were, Cowra were outstanding.
Fullback Gordon asserted his presence on the match early with a deft grubber kick for winger Phil Ingram to score the game’s first try inside 60 seconds.
It was a combination that bore more fruit for the visiting Magpies, with a superb cut-out ball from Gordon again finding Ingram to score down CYMS right-hand side defence to have Cowra lead CYMS 10-0 after 12 minutes.
CYMS responded through Stuart, the in-form three-quarter putting Wayne Colletts over out wide to draw the hosts to within six points.
A Holman pearler just to the left of the sticks shortly after kicked Cowra out to a 16-4 lead before Stuart went bang-bang with two scintillating darts out of dummy half to single handedly keep CYMS in the contest by the halftime break.
Hammering his side’s commitment, the pain for Sullivan began after when the half-time siren sounded.
“Blokes aren’t doing enough to change that,” Sullivan continued.
“They think it just happens on game day. It’s not like that, it’s a process. You do the work during the week and it’ll come good. But I don’t think I’m seeing that, from a few individuals as well as the team.”
Praising his pack, namely prop Blake Tidswell, Sutton was thrilled for the improving Magpies.
“I know there’s a lot of football in them,” he said.
“We’ve still got Warren (Williams) to come back in, he’ll throw a bit more strike in our side as well, but there’s a lot of guys in there who are just lacking that little bit of confidence having played in Cowra sides in the past who’ve struggled in these sorts of games.
“Getting that kill under their belt and that little bit of confidence, it was just a matter of time before we clicked.”
COWRA MAGPIES 38 (Tim Holman 3, Phil Ingram 2, Aidan Craig, KJ Wood tries; Jeremy Gordon 5 goals) def ORANGE CYMS 22 (Dan Stuart 2, Wayne Colletts, Zac Bohan tries; Tom Stonestreet 3 goals).