BERRY opened their account for 2014 with a convincing 30-4 victory against the Port Kembla Blacks at Berry Showground on Saturday.
The weather gods must have been in a strange mood as the field was basically hit with all four seasons in 80 minutes, starting and ending with sunshine with a heavy downpour in between.
Even before the kick off, the surface was a muddy mess and by the full time siren looked more like a battlefield on the Western Front than a football field.
The Magpies opened their account after just two minutes when Bryce Rutherford split through the Blacks defensive line, before finding support from Lloyd Sharpe, who after a bit of a slip and slide, found his way over to score the first try.
If anyone thought the early try was going to be a sign of exciting things to come in the first half, they would have been sadly mistaken, with the score remaining at 4-0 until the break.
In the slippery conditions, completed sets were few and far between as both sides struggled to hold onto the ball and with exceptional defence from both ends, the first half turned into a stalemate.
Fortunately we didn’t have to wait long for the second half to reach a greater level of excitement than the first, when Blake Dryden caught the Blacks defenders napping just one minute after the resumption to score their second try.
The Blacks may has well have been back in the sheds as Dryden scooted out of dummy half and ran 50 metres to score under the posts and give them a 10-0 lead after Josh Coulter added the extras.
The early try seemed to be a wakeup call for the Blacks, who soon switched back on.
They hit back when a well-placed kick from the centre of the field fell into the hands of Josh Windisch, who went over in the corner 10 minutes into the second half.
Unfortunately for the Blacks it was not a sign of good things to come as the floodgates opened up (almost literally with the heavy rain) for the Magpies.
The Magpies had a swift response when Josh Coulter made a bust down the side to set up Rory McCall for a try in the corner.
Their lead stretched out to 16-4 when Coulter slotted his conversion from the sideline.
Things only got worse for the Blacks from there with a penalty goal minutes later extend the lead to 18-4 and then 24-4 when Coulter was rewarded for his efforts with a converted try of his own.
The final insult for the Blacks came when they were reduced to 12-men when Ben Dove was sent to the sin bin after things got a little hot and heavy out in the middle.
A late try to back-rower Josh Holland blew the score line out to 30-4 at full time.
The result capped off a great start to the season for the Magpies and will no doubt have erased a few memories of their loss to the Blacks last season.
Blake Dryden, Joe Rogers, Josh Coulter and Bryce Rutherford were the standouts for the Magpies, while Christian Kupenga, Tane Sturmey and Josh Edwards did their best for the Blacks.