Tigers, pirates advance

OLD Bar Pirates and Wingham advanced through to the semi-finals of the XX Trophies Group Three Rugby League pre-season competition after the opening round played at the Jack Neal Oval.

The games were switched to Chatham after the Old Bar Reserve was ruled out following heavy rain last week.

Old Bar accounted for a disjoined Forster-Tuncurry side 16-6 while Wingham edged out Taree City 26-20 via a late try to hooker Adam Kerr.

There's little resemblance to the Old Bar side that played in the pre-season opener to the one that contested last year's grand final, while the Hawks also have their share of new faces.

As such both sides struggled with cohesion. Old Bar always looked to have Forster's measure, with the Hawks appearing to be particularly flat in attack.

With new five-eighth and former Hawk Kurt Lewis prominent in attack the Pirates finally sealed the game with a try to fullback Daniel Morris.

There was some good news for the Hawks with five-eighth Sam McCartney getting through the game unscathed following his horror year with injuries in 2013.

Wingham scored the club's first win since 2012 in a fluctuating game against Taree City.

The scores were locked at 20-20 until Kerr's try shunted Wingham into the pre-season semis. Had the scores remained tied Taree would have advanced as they scored the first try.

Taree was awarded a penalty well within kicking range when they led 20-14 however they opted to take the tap and coughed up possession soon after. The Bulls could be considered unlucky when fullback Todd Northam was tackled and taken over the sideline just before fulltime. Referee Jason Allan decided not to penalise Wingham and the next set from the ensuring scrum win Kerr scored the winning try.

Tim Bridge looked smart in the centres for the Tigers while Jaiden Lewis did some good things for the Bulls at halfback. Both will field young sides although the Tigers will have the experienced Matt Bartlett to return once the real stuff begins on April 26.

Meanwhile at Wauchope the previous day Wauchope and Macleay Valley moved through to the semi-finals.

The Blues accounted for Port Sharks 34-16 while Macleay downed Port City 18-12 in a tough contest.


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