BERRY have claimed arguably their biggest scalp in recent seasons with a 30-16 win over Gerringong at Berry Showground on Sunday.
Played in the mud and the muck, it was the Magpies who were able to make the most of their chances in a scrappy affair.
Missing five-eighth Patrick Cronin due to an injury sustained in Saturday’s representative game, the Lions looked somewhat disorganised, while Berry’s halves pairing of Joe Rogers and Josh Ingold did an excellent job of steering their side around on the heavy track.
It was the Lions who opened the scoring, their reshuffled back-line string a number of passes together to send Ben Wiringi down the sideline.
With the defence closing in, Wiringi snap-kicked the ball back infield and into the hands of Brad Davidson for a 4-nil Gerringong lead.
The Lions’ lead wasn’t destined to last long however, an error two rucks after the kick-off put the Magpies in prime field position and they made the most of it.
Josh Ingold put Nathan Benny through and under the posts with a clever no look pass, Josh Coulter converted for a 6-4 Magpies’ lead.
Gerringong seemed reluctant to do themselves any favours and an error deep in their half soon put Berry on the attack.
This time it was Ingold with a try of his own, the five-eighth getting on the outside of some sliding defender to cross out wide.
Coulter’s conversion made it 12-4.
The Lions soon cut the gap back to four, speedster Rixon Russell scoring in almost identical fashion to Ingold has he found some space out wide for 12-8.
It looked as if the score would stay that way until half-time, until a penalty gave Berry one last chance.
They capitalised as they went to the left hand side again and Lloyd Sharpe crashed over, Coulter adding the extras to make it 18-8 at the break.
It was Gerringong who opened the scoring in the second half as well, though not in overly convincing fashion.
Winger Joel Doosey picked up a bouncing pass and somehow managed to scramble his way across the line to make it 18-12.
Berry weren’t about to let Gerringong back into the game and they soon extended their lead.
Sharpe had his double when he stormed into yawning gap on the left fringe, Coulter nailed the conversion to make it a 24-12 lead.
Gerringong were committed to keeping themselves in the contest though, and trimmed the lead to eight when Elliot Stewart dived over in the corner.
It would be as close as they would come however, as Berry sealed the win with a late converted try to Blake Harris-Davis.
Ingold, Benney and Blake Dryden stood out for Berry, while Jackson Merritt, Nathan Ford and Davidson did all they could for Gerringong.