IN a dire battle at Bill Andriske Mollymook Oval on Saturday night the Milton-Ulladulla Bulldogs overcame the Berry Magpies 20-18.
Milton-Ulladulla took the lead in the first few minutes with rookie Jesse Piekar on the left wing crossing in the scoreboard corner.
The Milton kicker Luke Young was hammering Berry's fullback James Milne and feeling the pressure, he knocked on in his in goal.
From the restart Milton again attacked the southeast corner with Piekar being knocked into touch by the watertight Berry defence.
Three minutes later another error by Milne saw a restart under the sticks and again Piekar was forced into touch in the same corner by the Berry defenders.
This play was to set the tone of the game with neither side yet gaining the ascendency.
Play was scrappy with both teams completing only a handful of sets.
Neither pack was on top and after 20 minutes Dylan Buchanan, Piekar's opposite number evened the score after good lead up work by Blake Harris-Davis.
Miton's workhorse centre Adam Bliss crossed in the in the 29th minute and was called for a forward pass by referee Lees.
Piekar again injected himself into the game when he ran down a run away Joel Webeck to save a certain try.
Webeck had capitalised on a rare break in the middle of Milton's tight defence.
Soon after Milton opened up again and Berry second rower Bryce Rutherford motored over to put Berry in the lead 8-4.
Berry was to hold the lead until nine minutes from the end of the game.
Conversions to this point were all unsuccessful.
The breaks were now being found on the edges and Mitch Simington made a long break only to be tackled short.
Berry opened the scoring in the second half with Blake Harris-Davis scoring after five minutes and another missed conversion attempt by Joe Rogers left it at 12-4 and still anyone's game.
Milton's hard working Adam Bliss was again called back in the ninth minute and Berry responded with Josh Ingold scoring in the 13th minute with Jack McPherson making a successful conversion attempt to give them an 18-4 lead.
Milton's centre who appeared to be missing his regular centre partner Lachie Moore was rewarded with a try after 22 minutes with Luke Young failing to convert.
Young's kicking in general play was almost faultless forcing many errors from Berry's back three.
In the 27th minute Mitch Simington stepped around some tiring Berry defenders and was untouched after he crossed halfway.
He scored almost under the posts for Young to make any easy conversion 18-14.
Berry were trying everything but Milton-Ulladulla were defending without fail.
Scott Webb who had come on from the bench after a full game of reserve grade became the Bulldogs hero when he made a determined run from about 20 metres out to cross within kicking distance.
At 18-all Luke Young added the extras with 20-18 being the final the score.
The last seven minutes was a battle royal with Berry having the greater share of possession but the Milton defence held out until the final whistle.
Best for Berry were Buchanan, Holland and Woodford, while Bliss, Warburton and Simington were all strong for Milton.