10 years on, Cale Oval remains stronghold for Gorillas
For the Gorillas 2019 marks a decade since the Clubs greatest achievement to date being Premierships in the top tier Blowes Clothing Cup 1st Grade Mens and Womens competitions. The Club was marking the occasion on Saturday with a ball to commemorate, reminisce and celebrate these achievements, as well as others being Premierships in the Lang Shield 1st and 2nd Grade in 2001, a 2nd Grade Premiership in the Blowes Clothing Cup in 2007, a Premiership in the Graincorp Cup in 2017, and 1st and 2nd Grade Premierships in the New Holland Cup in 2018. It was a great night attended well by many past and present players, and was capped off by the unveiling of new Life Member and 100 Game Honour Boards with the most recently elected Life Members Stewart and Frances Crawford being recognised.
It’s deep into the season now and there’s a great vibe in the Gorillas camp as the Clubs performance seems to be peaking at the right time with another clean sweep at home on the weekend against the Mudgee Wombats. Fittingly it was 2009 Premiership winner Bec Smyth, seemingly unstoppable with four tries, that helped steer the Women to their first win over the Wombats this season with a 46 to 26 final scoreline. Jess Brown made some great runs through the middle and the skill and support of Tahlia O’Rourke and Madeline Piccolo helped Alice Theberge streak away for a double with Lana Walsh and Sophie Currey also getting tries. The girls have a few points to make up on the table but are beating some very god sides showing they’re a real chance this year!
Unfortunately the Colts were handed a forfeit from the Emu’s, but this will do them no harm as the bonus point win helps them hang on to 2nd on the ladder. This meant that 2nd Grade was next to take the field in what was to be a frustrating game where the home side found it very hard to build momentum. With a star studded line-up the Gorillas went into half time 5 – 0 up which had some scratching their heads. But at close inspection Mudgee must be given praise as they were able to spoil a lot of ball and interrupt the Gorillas set-piece to stifle any momentum that the home side was looking to build. Captain-coach Craig Duff may be a little slower now than his 2009 Premiership winning self, but pulled out some great passages of play and even brought the shoulders out of retirement for a bone rattling tackle right in front of the home crowd. A single 2nd half try to Charlie MacInnes, also a 2009 Premiership Winner, made the final scoreline 12 – 0 to the Gorillas.
Man-mountain Lach McCutcheon stared for the Gorillas 1st Grade as they adapted well to overcome a spirited Mudgee outfit. McCutcheon, Craig Campbell, Charlie Tuck and Ryan Pratten were all wearing commemorative jerseys to show their long term tenure with the Club, but they are all also members of the 2009 Premiership winning side. Mudgee showed their strength again with great defensive line-speed making it hard for the Gorillas to make meters, particularly off their set-piece where Mudgee marked up well and kept the normally dynamic back-line under control. The home-side adapted well though realising that their opportunities would come from stringing phases together and taking their chances through the middle which lead to McCutcheon getting a double and the halves pairing of Jono Sharkey and George Hancock carving up valuable meters around the ruck to get the Gorillas a 50 points to 21 win. But while George Hancocks solo try effort from 60 meters out cutting through several would-be defenders was getting the crowd cheering, Coach Craig Campbell was getting himself 10 in the bin for repeat infringements as Mudgee applied some pressure. While the Gorillas will be upset they leaked 3 tries they will be happy they were able to find plenty of points for themselves against an improving Wombats.
Another great win for the Narromine boys sees them a few points clear of CSU on the ladder and eyeing off another Minor Premiership in 2019, but some injury woes and limited games left in the season will have them working hard with thoughts of another Premiership starting to loom…
The Club is divided on away trips next week but will return to Cale Oval on the 13th of July to take on Blayney.