Valley tastes glory

HAWKESBURY Valley Rugby Club’s third grade repulsed repeated attempts by Waverley to cross their line in the second half and added another Campbell Cup premiership to the club’s list of achievements with a hard-fought 10-7 victory on Saturday.

Hawkesbury was keen to avenge their close loss to Waverley in the major semi-final and dominated the opening encounters to have them on the back foot. 

Bullocking runs by locks Jason Dobson and Brett Thompson supported by front-rower Scott Hyde drew plenty of attention from the Waverley defence. 

In trying to contain the Hawkesbury Valley drives into their territory with desperate spoiling, Waverley incurred one too many penalties (five in the first 10 minutes) for the referee, resulting in a yellow card.

The Valley scrum dominated Waverley to prevent them gaining clean position while providing their own halfback Pat Muller with quality options. 

Despite carrying a painful shoulder injury front-rower Nathan Walker typified the determination with rock solid defence.

With a solid forward platform and one man advantage it was Hawkesbury Valley’s backline which tested their opposition with halfback Pat Muller delivering deft passes for fly-half Frank Walker to orchestrate play. 

Having settled in the Waverley 22-metre area Hawkesbury utilising their driving maul 10 metres out, grinding their way forward to cross the Waverley line through Nathan Cole and the conversion by Muller gave them a 7-0 lead.

Waverley gave away another penalty and Muller made no mistake to give Hawkesbury a 10-0 lead.

Not all things went Hawkesbury’s way for the remainder of the half with some poor return kick options and lapses in their previously disciplined ruck defence.

Having thrown his diminutive frame into numerous Waverley attackers and securing valuable possession, the loss of Cole showed.

Waverley finally took advantage of a rare opportunity to score a converted try and closed the gap to three.

The second half saw both sides battling to move beyond centre-field. 

Promising Hawkesbury Valley drives and pressure relieving kicks from Frank Walker along with darting runs from wingers David Wikaira-Paul and Elias Azzi in field, gave hope of increasing their lead. 

Those hopes were halted with loss of structure at the ruck and handing possession back to Waverley.

Combining with the earlier loss of Nathan Cole the succumbing of hooker and captain Adam Parbery to an ongoing hamstring issue saw a re-organisation of the dominant Hawkesbury scrum. 

Number 8 Todd Nixon and flanker Daniel Marshall still continued to take on Waverley with barging runs and equally hard defence.

The return to the field of Parbery and Cole from treatment got the Valley side back on track. 

Waverley was not going to give in and took advantage of late penalties including several on the Hawkesbury Valley line to maintain pressure.

The final five minutes seeming the longest in many supporters and coach Paul Eather’s lives.

Hawkesbury repelled wave after wave of Waverley drives. 

When it looked like Waverley were going to cross for a winning try Daniel Beckett repeated an earlier bone crunching tackle to halt the attack and gain possession and ease some pressure.

Ironically, after Nixon incurred a late penalty conceded on the line trying to block another raid that could have resulted in being a man down and loss of the lead, it was Waverley who provided the final break of pressure needed. 

A penalty against the attacking Waverley halfback a minute from full-time enabled Walker to find touch up field and Hawkesbury Valley closed down play and run out winners.

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