Hornets put needed sting into NRRRL finals charge

STAN Sercombe Oval was no place for the faint-hearted yesterday when Murwillumbah hosted Cudgen in round 16 of the Northern Rivers regional Rugby League.

In a game which the Hornets had to win to keep their semi finals hopes alive they managed to prevail against a spirited Mustangs outfit 14-10 in a match which had all the intensity of a final.

Murwillumbah opened the scoring through second rower Nick Forrester whose try was converted by half Ben White to give the home side a 6-0 lead after about eight minutes.

In a game where neither side truly got on top of their opponent, Cudgen managed to strike back through winger Joe Prichard before a great sideline conversion by Chris Kennedy locked the scores at 6-all in the 20th minute.

Four minutes before half time Cudgen centre Aaron Coutes crossed in the corner to give his side a 10-6 lead at half time.

The visitors further extended their lead about five minutes into the second half through hooker Chris Kennedy to have the Hornets up 14-6.

But Brad Purtell's Mustangs weren't about to surrender easily and in the 58th minute they scored through winger Matt Goodfellow to see the score 14-10.

Despite both sides having their opportunities, neither could convert them into points and 14-10 remained the full time score.

“I'm pleased with the win which is what we came here for but we made it hard on ourselves,” Cudgen coach Con Theodossiou said after the match.

“Our goal line defence was outstanding but it had to be because we gave them every opportunity to score.

“I'm pleased with the way the boys dug deep for each other - we just have to keep on winning now.”

For the Mustangs, it was a case of poor ball control at crucial times of the match.

The home side created plenty of scoring chances only to lose the ball much to the frustration of coach Purtell and the Mustangs supporters. In the lower grades, Murwillumbah won the under 18s 32-16 while Cudgen won reserve grade 34-16.

At Les Burger Field, Bogangar, the Tweed Coast Raiders had a solid percentage boosting win over Evans Head 54-22.

While Evans Head won a tight match in reserves 20-19 and Tweed Coast took the under 18s, 32-18.

In other NRRRL matches, Mullumbimby downed Marist Brothers 38-4, Byron defeated Casino 30-22, Lower Clarence defeated the Grafton Rhinos 42-26, the Grafton Ghosts beat Kyogle 34-18 and Northern United downed Ballina 48-30.

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