ORANGE CYMS’ Group 10 premier league season is over.
For the first time since Mick Sullivan took over as captain-coach in 2010 CYMS will not feature in a finals series, courtesy of a heartbreaking 32-10 loss to Bathurst St Pat’s on Sunday.
Locked in a two-way battle for fifth, the green and golds desperately needed Orange Hawks to beat a rampant Bathurst Panthers side on Saturday to ensure CYMS’ place in the play-offs.
Instead, Hawks got thumped.
As a result, CYMS travelled to Bathurst yesterday unable to settle for anything but a win, but met a Saints side hell-bent on securing the minor premiership and ending the reigning premiers’ season.
The green and golds were thoroughly outclassed, helpless as St Pat’s ran in five tries to one in the second half to secure the win.
“A couple of little errors from us there and they capitalised. They’re a quality side and good luck to them going on in the semi-finals,” Sullivan said following the loss.
“We started not too bad this year, but inconsistency came into the back half.”
St Pat’s opened the scoring in just the second minute when Garry Reilly capitalised on a rare Dan Stuart error to give his side a very early 4-nil lead.
The score remained steadfast until the 33rd minute when St Pat’s gifted CYMS a string of back-to-back sets, and finally buckled under the relentless attacking raids as Zac Bohan barged his way over for the visitors.
Ben McAlpine’s conversion gave CYMS the lead, before Reilly nailed a penalty goal on half-time to level the scores at the break.
Eight minutes into the second half Adam Gibson crashed over to give CYMS a 10-6 lead, but from there, it was one way traffic.
Five minutes later Dave Howard scored a breathtaking try with a mid-air juggling effort worthy of Cirque du Soleil, before a knock-on gifted St Pat’s possession on CYMS’ line.
Mick Armstrong duly scored, and Brent Dennis followed it up with another St Pat’s four pointer shortly after.
Armstrong bagged his double with 15 minutes left, and Reilly snared his second with a runaway intercept try in the shadow of full-time.
Despite being visibly disappointed, Sullivan was diplomatic following the loss.
“It will be a chance for the guys to watch some footy, something we haven’t had for a long time,” he said.
“This year we get to go and relax a bit early and try to get some injuries right. No doubt there’s some guys here who have played busted for a year or two. No doubt we’ll make an earlier start to next year and come back hopefully bigger and better.”
Sullivan labelled St Pat’s “the benchmark”, but also suggested the Saints’ cross-town rivals could be a title dark horse.
“It could go to anyone now in that top five. I still think Panthers are a massive shot ... and Pat’s are the benchmark after playing them today,” he said.
BATHURST ST PAT’S 32 (Mick Armstrong 2, Garry Reilly 2, Dave Howard, Brent Dennis tries; Reilly 3 conversions; Reilly penalty goal) def ORANGE CYMS 10 (Zac Rohen, Adam Gibson tries; Ben McAlpine conversion)