Cherbourg’s Nigel Williams brings down Ipswich Purga’s Stephan O’Donohue in the Shield Final yesterday.
Cherbourg’s Nigel Williams brings down Ipswich Purga’s Stephan O’Donohue in the Shield Final yesterday. MEGAN LEWIS

Hornets sting in league thriller

WHEN Corey Saltner took advantage of loose marking at a play the ball and ran 40 metres to offload to Bruce Joseph for the try it looked as if the Cherbourg Hornets would canter to back-to-back Shield wins.

It didn’t turn out like that as the match ended as a thriller with the Hornets only grabbing the three-point win in the dying minutes.

The Joseph try was scored in the opening minute of the second half and extended the Cherbourg team’s lead to 28-6, following the conversion, against a tired looking Ipswich Purga Wagtails side.

During the first 40 minutes it was mainly one-way traffic as the Hornets were making big metres with ball in hand, showed pace in all areas and when running at the Ipswich defence had players like Bernard Hopkins ready to confuse with some clever football.

Brendan Saltner gave the game a shake in the opening minutes with Dennis Sandow adding the conversion.

Stafford Saltner added a second soon after and with the score at 12-0 it looked like a long afternoon for an Ipswich side that was having difficulty completing its sets of six.

A glorious dummy from Hopkins was bought by the whole of the Ipswich defence and that allowed Nigel Williams through without an opposition hand touching him.

When Joseph hit the Ipswich line at pace to dot down Ipswich was in trouble at 22-0 and hardly any attacking ideas to show from their work.

Just on the siren Ipswich was thrown a lifeline as Stephen O’Donohue dived over in the corner with his try converted.

From that point the large crowd at Browne Park was about to witness an amazing change of fortune.

Once the Hornets had gone to 28-6, with the second Joseph try, Ipswich hit back through its dynamic second rower LJ Williams who dived over for his first of a hat-trick of tries.

The Hornets then had luck on their side as Brendan Saltner capitalised on what looked to be a forward pass to make it 34-12.

At that point all bets were off as Ipswich looked a beaten side.

A quarter of an hour later the complexion of the game had changed totally.

Without warning Cherbourg started making errors.

No longer were the big forwards making yards at each play and the side’s completion rate dropped away dramatically.

With errors came indiscipline and also points as Ipswich sensed there was still something to play for, especially LJ Williams.

With the stadium clock counting down to two minutes remaining the score was 34-34.

A field goal from Bernard Hopkins had the Hornets ahead by one but Ipswich messed up the final set of six for the game, conceding a penalty, which Sandow kicked from half way to give Cherbourg a memorable victory by 37-34.

The win for the Hornets ended a great carnival with large crowds flocking to Browne Park throughout the three days.

The Plate final was also a thriller and true to the custom of these Indigenous matches there was lots of pace, good ball handling skills, big hits and plenty of points on the board.

In the end Wagadagam Storm defeated Storm United 46-30 and a report on that game will be in tomorrow’s The Morning Bulletin along with the Indigenous Carnival selection team.



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