The Bellingen Valley / Dorrigo Magpies made the road trip to Grafton on Sunday to take on the South Grafton Rebels. Down in strength but not in spirit the Magpies were more than competitive in all grades but could not pull off a win in any of them, unfortunately.
First Grade once again was off to a good start when Louis Taylor crossed for a try. Play then seesawed from one end to the other until a poor kick chase led to the Rebels full back splitting the defence to score. The Magpies were then on the back foot and the Rebels ran in two more tries to lead 18-4. The Magpies hit back with a try to Michael White after good lead up work by David Marchant. However the Rebels scored again and went to the break leading 22-8.
The Magpies continued to lose players to injury in the second half with the replacement players trying their hardest to keep the Rebels at bay. The Rebels went to a 32-8 lead before a clever cross field kick by Larnus Leisha led to Isaac Dillon scoring wide out 32-12. The Rebels scored again before Larnus Leisha scored late to leave the final score at 38-16. Four conversions and the score could have been much closer.
Probably the highlight of the day was the fight back in Reserve Grade who had to get President Trent back on the field to make up the numbers. Down 26-0 late in the first half and led by Stephen Ferguson, the Magpies were in a position to take the game. Jay Munday dived over late in the first half, Stephen converted and the Magpies trailed 26-6 at half time.
Straight after half time a Wade Davis cross-field kick led to a John Bond try. Bondy was in again soon after and Wade Davis converted and the Magpies were back in the game at 26-16. With a clever interchange of passes close to the line Andrew Wetherall scored, Wade once again converted and the Magpies edged closer at 26-22. However, the fairytale was not to be as the Rebels scored late to win 30-22.
In League Tag, the Magpies found it very difficult to split the Rebels defence and a few missed tags allowed the Rebels to score several long range tries leaving them trailing 18-0 at the break.
The second half was a dour affair with the Magpies scoring the only try through Tina McRae off a clever Shenyse Jarrett-Duroux pass. Shelby Osland converted leaving the final score at 18-6.
Next week the Magpies play Orara Valley at home. Injuries to key players at Grafton will make the game a tough one.