Nothing fits the phrase 'weathering the storm' quite like the winning performance of Bathurst St Pat's in their Group 10 premier league opener against Orange CYMS on Sunday at Jack Arrow Oval.
St Pat's had to see off wave after wave of CYMS' physical attack but pulled through to record a 26-14 win.
Luke Branighan, celebrating his first win as Saints player-coach, put the win down to a great attitude from his side in the face of adversity.
"We lost a man for 10 minutes [to the sin bin] but our young blokes showed great enthusiasm while the older blokes played very smart. That mixture got us," he said.
"The forward pack were really good today. We had to weather a lot of CYMS attack today and we'd lost a few blokes during the week like Benjamin John and Greg Behan.
They changed the momentum midway through that first half and we just found it too difficult to claw back.CYMS player-coach Dom Maley
"CYMS just kept coming and coming. They had a few blokes out today as well so we're definitely not going to get ahead of ourselves."
The opening quarter of the game saw CYMS carve surge up the middle to ground to create several early opportunities.
Dom Maley and Luke Petrie were unfortunate not to find CYMS players on the end of their dangerous grubbers and Cam Jones was held up over the line by some desperate defence.
The St Pat's wall held strong for 16 minutes until Kane Earsman was put into space.
Five minutes later Luke Branighan kicked a 40-20 that would spark a St Pat's turnaround.
On the ensuing set Chris Kirby finished off a Saints' move to the right of the ground to make it 4-all.
Where CYMS were doing damage in the middle Pat's were doing just as much on the edges.
Traie Merritt capitalised on a fortuitous bounce from a chip kick, running over to score in the 35th minute, before a stunning Saints team try unfolded on the team's very next set.
Mick Latu was put into space on the left wing and found Tim Holman in support. Holman then sent the ball back out to Garry Reilly on the wing, who gave the hosts a 14-4 half-time lead.
CYMS started the second half much like they began the first, with determined efforts from their forwards through the centre.
They blew a couple of try-scoring opportunities before Mick Hawkings' sin binning for a dangerous hit gave CYMS an even better chance to close the gap.
The Orange men did just that when Jarred Tyack scored off an overlap down the left wing.
When Hawkings returned to the ground he helped swing the momentum back in the Saints' favour with a barnstorming hit up.
Adam Booth scored on the end of the set and Holman found a try of his own shortly after to take the lead out to 26-8 and secure the result.
Lachlan Munro got a consolation try for CYMS with three minutes remaining.
"We started off how we wanted to, worked the ball to the right areas, but that's no good to us if we don't finish it off," CYMS player-coach Dom Maley said.
"They changed the momentum midway through that first half and we just found it too difficult to claw back."
- BATHURST ST PAT'S 26 (Chris Kirby, Traie Merritt, Garry Reilly, Adam Booth, Tim Holman tries; Merritt 3 goals) def ORANGE CYMS 14 (Kane Earsman, Jarred Tyack, Lachlan Munro tries; Chris Grevsmuhl goal)
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