A PAT Gibson inspired Orange CYMS have knocked off the top of the table Lithgow Workies, running in two tries to one to win 12-6 in the first grand final replay of 2012.
Played in miserable conditions at Wade Park yesterday, Lithgow had a mountain of possession in the first half but couldn’t crack the green and golds’ spirited defence, led largely by Gibson.
In a performance reminiscent of his Dave Scott medal-winning effort in last year’s 30-12 grand final win over Lithgow, Gibson (left) was vital in defence and didn’t shirk away from the tough stuff, regularly putting his hand up to get CYMS out of their own end.
Lithgow and Group 10 fullback Jono Van Veen will be having nightmares about Gibson, such was the tireless lock’s effort in shutting down Workies’ main attacking weapon.
Lithgow’s loss means after three rounds of the 2012 Group 10 premiership, no team is undefeated.
With the likes of captain-coach Mick Sullivan, centre Kurt Beahan and props Brent Sargent and Ben McKenna watching from the stands compounded by the loss of centre Dom Maley in his comeback match, not many punters would have predicted a CYMS win.
“As a group we always remain confident,” Sullivan said.
“It was one of those days where we just turned up and said ‘you’re not going to cross our line.’
“They always come in confident and we’re always quietly confident ourselves. Both teams step out on the field with true belief that they’re going to get the points.”
Lithgow started the match well, controlling the ball in greasy conditions to put CYMS under a mountain of pressure.
Workies winger Reece Finlay crossed twice but on both occasions he was denied; once for a knock on over the line and the other for a forward pass.
In virtually their only venture into Lithgow territory in the opening 40 minutes, CYMS scored when backrower Ben Gosper popped a lovely ball to a flying Tim Bassmann who showed a clean pair of heels to beat Jono Van Veen to the line.
Lithgow crossed soon after, though, when Jono Van Veen darted out of dummy half to score.
He converted his own try taking the score to 6-all.
A Claude Gordon penalty goal right on the stroke of half-time gave CYMS a slight advantage heading into the sheds at 8-6.
Ball control was generally non-existent for large parts of the second half, with the damp conditions playing their part in the tight affair.
The green and golds scored the only try of the second half through slippery half Gordon.
They held on over the final 23 minutes to record their second win of the season.
Sullivan has said in the past when CYMS are on song, it’s their defence that’s the catalyst.
“I still think when we’re defending well we’re playing well and on a dry day if we defend like that we probably put some points on,” he said.
Workies coach Graeme Osborne lamented his side’s missed opportunities at the start of the match but couldn’t fault his team, with the likes of Van Veen brother Jono and Brendon as well as Dan George and barnstorming backrower Matt Mizzi backing up from rep duty.
“I think it came down to the side that wanted to stay in the arm wrestle and complete their sets. It was a good (game), the weather wasn’t real good for footy and (CYMS) played more disciplined footy,” Osborne said.