Rugby Union | Shoals outpoint local rivals Kiama on a windswept day

SUCCESS: Shoals' Mark Brandon playing on a blustery day in Kiama that saw a clean sweep of wins across three grades. Photo: DAMIAN McGILL

SUCCESS: Shoals' Mark Brandon playing on a blustery day in Kiama that saw a clean sweep of wins across three grades. Photo: DAMIAN McGILL

The Shoalhaven Ex Servicemen’s Shoals’ 1st grade team played their local derby against Kiama on a blustery day at Kiama’s cliff top showground. Despite the difficult conditions it was a high scoring game with Shoals running in 8 tries to Kiama’s five to win the game by 50 points to 31 points. Shoals led by 24 points to 19 at the break. It was a fine afternoon for Shoals as they recorded wins in all three grades.

Shoal had a much different side from previous weeks with four back line changes and three in the forwards. The team however blended well, particularly the back line which put on a great display of fast open rugby. 

Steve Brandon opened the scoring for Shoals with a masterful display of side stepping and sheer pace to race 70 metres to put the ball down under the posts after just 1 minute of play. He followed this up with another 50 metre jet propelled effort at the 12 minute mark. Shoals went to an early 14 points to nil lead with the conversion.

Play settled down for a while until Harry Hibbs, playing at full back, raced onto a well-timed pass 20 metres out from Kiama’s line and sauntered over for a 5 pointer. Kiama rallied after this 3rd try by Shoals and went on the attack deep in Shoals’ territory. They looked certain to score in the 20th minute when they created an overlap out wide but Steve Brandon took an intercept and raced the length of the field for his 3rd try.

Kiama finished the half in great style. They attacked through their forwards and had Shoals back pedaling. At the right time they used their backs to good effect and with slick passing created holes in Shoals defence. They scored tries at the 25 minute mark, the 35 minute mark and then again just before half time. With their goal kicker knocking over 2 conversions Kiama had clawed their way back into the game going to the sheds down by only 24 points to 19.

The second half was a dynamic affair with the teams scoring 6 tries. Harry Hibbs scored his second try for Shoals finishing off a move through the backs that started inside their 22 metre line. Kiama matched this effort a few minutes later when they scored a converted try to remain just 4 points adrift.

Ave Raboitoga, playing at right centre, showed his flashing speed with a try at the 27 minute mark. Again Kiama matched this try with one of their own through a massive forward effort but with an unsuccessful conversion they trailed by 7 points.

Shoals, however, finished the game off too well with two tries in the space of 6 minutes. Matt Spresser, at breakaway, scored the first with a fine solo effort when he pounced on a loose Kiama pass, just 20 metres out from their line, toed the ball ahead and easily won the race to flop on it over the try line. Shoals completed the task of winning the match with a barging forwards’ try right on the bell. The conversion racked up the 50 points for Shoals.

By gaining their fourth 5 competition points win so far this season Shoals remain on top of the ladder. They move on to play long term foes Vikings in Wollongong next Saturday. Shoals return to Rugby Park on Saturday 26th May for their match up against Bowral which will also be Ladies Day at the Club. 

Second grade

The WorkforceXS/Soilco Shoals’ 2nd Grade team scored a strong win over Kiama by scoring 9 tries to just the one by their opposition. Conversions were hard to come by in the tricky windy conditions and Shoals just managed 3 from their 9 kicks otherwise the score line would have been much higher. Shoals raced in 5 tries in the first half to virtually seal the match and take a 29 points to nil lead to the break.

Shoals slowed slightly in the second half to score 4 tries to Kiama’s one and wrapped up their best scoring effort for a while with a 51 points to 7 points victory. Adam Herpes played strongly throughout the match and scored two excellent tries while Jed Ricketts also scored two fine tries in the second half.

Third grade

Shoals 3rd grade team played well in patches and just held on for a narrow win over Kiama in a low scoring game. After leading by 8 points to nil at the break Shoals were held scoreless in the second half while Kiama managed to put 7 points on the board. However Shoals clung grimly to their narrow lead and defied all Kiama’s efforts to score the winning points. Shoals had a strong team on the paddock with Matt Lane and Leith Copper returning to add sparkle to the back line and Joe Calcraft and Tim Murphy providing strong defence and crashing runs.

This was a good win for Shoals as Kiama had been undefeated in the season to date and had posted solid wins over other leading teams.