BATHURST St Pat’s back-rower Campbell Scott has secured the blue and whites a remarkable come-from-behind 30-27 victory over defending Group 10 premiers Orange CYMS.
Dead and all but buried as a Michael Sullivan-inspired CYMS turned a 20-10 deficit into a 27-20 lead at Wade Park, St Pat’s scored with just two minutes and 26 seconds on the clock through bullocking centre Dave Howard, with five-eighth Garry Reilly taking no time to add the extras and inch St Pat’s to within one point.
Then, with one last roll of the dice, St Pat’s charged up field and, on the fourth tackle close to 30 metres out from CYMS own goal line, fortuitously secured another set of six after the green and golds deflected a Pale Ale off load.
The deft CYMS touch meant the visitors would enjoy the game’s final possessions and peppering CYMS goal line Western Division rake Benjamin John shot a long cutout ball to Scott who charged through untouched to snare the match-winner with just three seconds on the clock.
The head note on a desperate St Pat’s victory, Scott believes yesterday’s three-point win has the potential to define his side’s season.
“It was certainly a nail-biter of a game,” the fullback-come-backrower said.
“Benji just slinged the pass and I thought I better jump up and grab him.”
It was the most unlikely of victories.
A fortnight after blowing a 20-0 halftime lead against Orange Hawks at the same venue, St Pat’s went about rectifying that wrong against the two blues when winger Jake Bright was the beneficiary of some brilliant lead-up work from Howard and Reilly.
Making hay down CYMS’ left edge defence, Bright scored two quickfire tries to shoot the visitors’ two-point halftime lead out to a 20-10 advantage after 49 minutes.
But, as they did against Hawks, St Pat’s exited the contest.
Returning to form, CYMS fullback Tim Bassmann raced 90 metres to score under the posts and, off the next set of six, Kyran Bubb found himself on the end of a corker, with a cross-field Ben McAlpine kick taken cleanly by winger Jarrod Robbins before offloading to the flying Bubb to score.
McAlpine nailed both conversions and CYMS led 22-20.
Looking on song, the green and golds stretched their lead to six points at the hour mark as a Sullivan long ball hit a rampaging Pat Galea, with the big backrower crossing out wide.
The conversion was missed, but at that point the match was CYMS’ to lose.
With 14 minutes remaining Galea looked certain to score what would have been the match-winner, but a try saver from English fullback John Hanscomb kept his side’s chances of a win in tact.
It, in fact, won St Pat’s the match.
Sullivan edged CYMS to a 27-20 lead with seven minutes remaining but the defending premiers conceded error after error thereafter to concede the crucial two points.
“That’s footy isn’t, you’ve just got to keep knocking on the door for 80 minutes. If you don’t you miss those opportunities,” a relieved St Pat’s coach Kurt Hancock said, adding the Bathurst club has to be better when the momentum of the match shifts.
“We spoke about it during the week, there’s been a few games throughout the season where we’ve been close but we just don’t get the two points.
“I was hoping those words sunk in but with about 10 minutes to go I thought we were going down that avenue again. To our credit, we played for 80 minutes.
“There’s not too much between those two sides.”
Failing to sustain what was his side’s best football for the 2014 season, Mick Sullivan was left to lament yesterday’s loss.
“Seven up with seven to play, usually we put those to bed, but we kept giving them opportunities and didn’t complete a set after that. Like I said, you don’t complete, you don’t win matches,” Sullivan said.
“As soon as we could see that winning point, we gave away the ball and they were good enough to take the opportunity.”
BATHURST ST PAT’S 30 (Dave Howard 2, Jake Bright 2, Campbell Scott, Antonio Ale tries; Garry Reilly 3 goals) def ORANGE CYMS 27 (Sam Hill, Tim Bassmann, Pat Galea, Semisi Katoa, Kyran Bubb tries; Ben McAlpine 2, Bubb goals; Mick Sullivan field goal).