Featured / News / Community / Sport / 14th September 2023
The mighty Unicorns – 2023 reserve grade premiers
The Coonabarabran Unicorns came from behind to win the reserve grade premiership last Saturday at Gulgong, claiming a 22 to 16 win over the Gilgandra Panthers.
Gilgandra had taken a 10-4 lead to the sheds at half time, after earlier scoring two impressive team tries.
However, that lead soon evaporated after the resumption of play in the second half, with the Unicorns going in for three converted tries to get ahead 22 to 10 with just 18 minutes of that stanza being played.
The Panthers responded with a late converted try, but the Unicorns’ surge after half time ensured them of a 22 to 16 win – and the premiership!
Following the reserve-grade decider was a highly entertaining league tag match between the Dunedoo Swannettes and the Narromine Jets, with the game not being decided until the final few seconds of the second period of extra time.
The lead changed three times in the first half before the Swannettes went to the break narrowly ahead, 14 to 12 .
The second half saw the Jets get ahead on the scoreboard, 18-14, before Dunedoo replied withatrytolockitup at 18-all at the end of regulation time to propel the grand final into extra time.
With the engrossing extra time, 10 minutes almost elapsed and it appeared that the match was headed to golden point, but with just seconds remaining the Jets went over wide out and it was to be their premiership, with a 22 to 18 victory!
The Gulgong Bull Terriers have ended their 100th year celebrations by claiming the 2023 Castlereagh League first grade premiership after grinding out a hard-fought win against the Cobar Roosters in the grand final.
In what was a somewhat dour affair, the closeness of the two teams on the scoreboard meant that it was none the less exciting, with the result in the balance until the full-time siren was sounded.
Points were hard to come by, with both sides guilty of being sloppy with regards to their ability to control possession, and it was not until there was only eight minutes remaining in the first half that there was some activity on the scoreboard, when Gulgong’s half back and captain coach Brad James was able to score out wide to give his team a four-nil lead, which was to be the score at the half-time break.
James’ opposite, Thomas Plater, evened things up when he went over from close range for Cobar just three minutes into the second half.
The Terriers seemed to be winning the game in territorial terms, with the Roosters called on to do some stout goal line defence until, finally, the four-all deadlock was broken when Gulgong’s front rower, Jack Hart, was able to pop a beautiful pass to his front-row partner, Blake Gorrie, who crashed over the try line.
With the try converted, Gulgong held a tenuous 10-4 lead with 11 minutes remaining.
It is history now that the Terriers were able to hold on to that lead after what was a tense finish to the match, and take the 2023 Castlereagh League first-grade premiership.
Their win meant that their undefeated status remained intact and gives them a very convincing claim for Clayton Cup honours!
The grand finals were watched by a large crowd and marked the end of what has been a highly successful 2023 Castlereagh League season.
Grand final scores
Played at Billy Dunn Oval, Gulgong, on Saturday, 9 September 2023.
Reserve grade Coonabarabran Unicorns 22 (Dyllon Tighe, Sam Pickette, PJ Stanton, Danny Rogers tries, Billy Whillock 3 goals) defeated Gilgandra Panthers 16 (Kaleb Sutherland, Coen Naden, Isaiah Gleadhill tries, Alex Sutherland 2 goals). Half time: Gilgandra 10, Coonabarabran 4. Player of the Match: Dyllon Tighe (Coonabarabran centre).
League tag Narromine Jets 22 (Emily Edwards 2, Jacana Powell, Lucy Dawson tries, Shian Chatfield 3 goals) defeated Dunedoo Swannettes 18 (Lauren Sullivan 2, Laura Shanahan, Mia Gallagher tries, Georgia Price goal). Half time: Dunedoo 14, Narromine 12. End of regulation time: 18-all. Player Of the Match: Shian Chatfield (Narromine).
First grade Gulgong Bull Terriers 10 (Brad James, Blake Gorrie tries, James goal) defeated Cobar Roosters 4 (Thomas Plater try). Half time: Gulgong 4, Cobar 0. Player of the Match: Jack Hart (Gulgong front rower).
League Tag Player of the Year: Brianna Watson (Cobar Roosters).
First Grade Player of the Year: Doug Potter (Narromine Jets).
Castlereagh League Life Membership was awarded to Matthew Guan (Dunedoo).
Trent Keeler and Eddy Martin take down a Gilgandra player in Saturday's reserve grade grand-final match. Photo: Col Boyd Photography
Marty Gordon on the attack for the Unicorns. Photo: Col Boyd Photography
The Gilgrandra defence wrap up a Unicorns' player. Photo: Col Boyd Photography