NSW Cup Match Report: Mounties narrow loss to Sharks
Mounties have lost their round 18 VB NSW Cup match against the Cronulla Sharks going down 22-20 at Belmore Sports Ground on Saturday.
Mounties started the match well pressuring the Sharks line and in the 5th minute their possession paid dividends when Bill Tupou was able to crash over in the North East corner to open the scoring and Mounties led 4-0 after the conversion was missed.
In the 9th minute Mounties extended their lead to 8-0 when Matt Place put up a high bomb which was plucked from the sky by Jeremy Hawkins for a four pointer however the try came at a price with Hawkins injuring his hamstring and he was replaced soon after and would take no further part in the game.
Some enterprising football by both teams saw play go end to end several times with both teams defence saving tries and in the 18th minute Mounties suffered another blow when Jake Foster was injured in a tackle and was taken off for the remainder of the match.
A few minutes later Cronulla took advantage of the forced reshuffle when they pushed through some flimsy defence to score near the posts and make it 8-6.
Mounties were able to strike back when Reece Goldsmith caught the Sharks defence napping and he was able to dive over from dummy half near the sticks to give Place an easy conversion to make it 14-6 and the score remained that way until the half time break.
Cronulla came out with all guns blazing in the second half and just five minutes in they got within two points of Mounties lead when a simple missed tackle saw them score a converted try to make it 14-12.
In the 58th minute more basic missed tackles saw the team from the Shire hit the lead with a converted try under the posts and just like that it was 18-14 and Mounties needed to come up with some steadying play or risk falling further behind.
Play again went end to end and in the 68th minute Rodney Coates snatched the lead back for Mounties when a seemingly lost play opened up space in the middle and Coates was on the spot to hit a hole from a Ryan Carr pass and he reached out for a try which was duly converted by Place and Mounties led 20-18.
Mounties then made a few fundamental errors including failing to find touch from a penalty and the Sharks made them pay in the 75th minute when they scored an unconverted try in the corner, again after some basic missed tackles and the Sharks regained the lead 22-20.
A few minutes later Mounties had a chance to level when a penalty conversion 30 metres out and in front of the posts went wide and Cronulla were able to hold on until the final bell.
Mounties remain in sixth place on the congested VB NSW Cup ladder and will take on Manly next Saturday at Aubrey Keech Reserve with kickoff at 3pm.