THEIR defensive line was treated to a Forbes artillery barrage but somehow the Bathurst Bulldogs emerged from the rubble alive after their Blowes Clothing Cup first grade elimination semi-final on Sunday, scraping home 20-18 winners.
In front of a vocal Ashwood Park home crowd, the Bulldogs spent little time on the ball in the second half, kept on the back foot for the final 30 minutes by a more determined Platypi side.
Bulldogs survived a missed penalty kick that would have given Forbes a one-point lead and then held off one last determined Platypi phase of play to live on in the competition for one more week.
Shane Cantrill was a picture of relief post-match but the Bulldogs co-coach was far from impressed with what unfolded.
“It was gutsy with plenty of ticker and all that but it was also poor execution, poor kicking and poor everything,” he said.
“A congrats to our guys but to Forbes as well. They had that ball for almost all of that final 20 minutes or so and we can’t have that happen again from here on in ... We have to step up now before going into next week.
Chris Plunkett opened the scoring for the home side with a try five minutes in before Simon Flynn’s penalty got Forbes back within two points.
The Platypi started to gain the ascendancy after their first points and their repeated pick-and-drive play was rewarded with a try 18 minutes in to Jarrod Hall.
With 15 minutes left in the first half the Bulldogs finally found some momentum, leading firstly to a penalty goal from right in front and then an Izaak Breen try.
Flynn’s second penalty after the siren had the scores at 15-13 in the Bulldogs’ favour at half-time.
Breen was at it again after the break when his dummy allowed him to make a run down the right side, delivering an offload for Chris De Young to score four minutes in.
From there the home side only saw the ball in small doses.
Forbes got themselves back in the hunt with Hall’s second try but Flynn’s missed conversion kept them two points off the pace.
Bulldogs had no answers for the Forbes pick-and-drive and mauls, with Bathurst only saved only by Platypi errors or penalties.
Platypi made a big call with five minutes left not to shoot for a penalty on the sideline and it proved costly as they turned over the ball several phases later.
Forbes captain James King said although the result wasn’t in his favour he had plenty of thanks to give to a club on the up.
“We ended up a lot better than what we have done in the previous couple of years. We can only build on it. There’s a bit more depth now through the club,” he said.
BATHURST BULLDOGS 20 (Chris Plunkett, Izaak Breen, Chris De Young tries; Steven Locke pen goal, conv) def FORBES 18 (Jarrod Hall 2 tries; Simon Flynn 2 pen goals, conv).