Wauchope Thunder under 16s made light work of the Hasting Valley Vikings in their first home game, running in 13 tries to take the game 83-14.
The Thunder came out firing with three unanswered tries, fancy footwork by fly half Zarn Durdevic caused headaches for the Vikings defence. A lapse in concentration cost the Thunder boys with Vikings applying pressure late in the first half.
Vikings built pressure with cleaver pick and drives through the middle and held on to the ball well late in the half. George Murphy was a standout for the Hasting Valley team, crashing over the line for the first 5 pointer.
On the stroke of half time, slick ball movement exposed the Thunder defence out wide and Vikings ran in an 80 meter try. Murphy had no issues slotting the conversion from the side line taking his team back to the sheds, down 32-14.
Thunder were keen to continue the up tempo pace of the first half, it didn’t take long for Lachlan McCudden to find the try line to open the flood gates. Vikings defence struggled to contain Durdevic and McCudden who dominated the midfield all game.
Coach Travis Moore was pleased with the outcome
“I was really pleased with how well we were moving the ball. We were always looking for the space which paid off for us,” he said.
“Both teams were down on numbers and we were matching numbers and lending players. Credit to the Vikings they never gave up.”
New MNC Junior Rugby by-laws allow junior games to be played with numbers as low as 7 per team, with teams matching and/or lending numbers in an attempt to promote the sport among junior ranks.
Thunder President Paddy Bowen welcomed the new zone initiative.
“It shows great vision by the MNC Zone,” he said.
“Sometimes it’s hard to have great numbers across all junior grades for a number of reasons. This allows clubs having a tough year in one age group to still get on the field and compete every Saturday.”
Vikings 1st grade flexed their muscle in the main game with a 64-14 victory. Thunder showed snippets of positive signs in the top grade with a slick Glen Strong intercept to put them on the board.
English recruit James Collings also found the line late in the second half but little ball in hand resulted in the Thunder man defending for most of the game.
Despite the score line there was optimism in the Thunder camp after Vikings notching up triple digits in their previous encounters at Andrews Park.
Bowen was optimistic for the year ahead.
“There is definitely still a lot of work to do but there are some positives in that game. We just have to keep working and developing our players,” he said.
“The boys are working hard, numbers at training are good… they will be a different team in the backend of the season.”
The Thunder women take on newcomers Bowraville this weekend, off the back of a 22-15 win against Coffs Harbour Snappers.