Wingham end Old Bar's winning run

Wingham's Matt Bridge makes a break during his side's 30-18 win over Old Bar Beach Pirates.
Wingham's Matt Bridge makes a break during his side's 30-18 win over Old Bar Beach Pirates.

WINGHAM stayed on track for a top three finish in the Group Three Rugby League competition by defeating Old Bar 30-18 in the game played in freezing conditions at Wingham.

The Tigers have joined Old Bar in equal third place with 23 points, one clear of Port Macquarie.

Both Wingham and Old Bar face stern challenges next weekend, with Wingham travelling to Kempsey to meet Macleay Valley while Old Bar hosts leaders Wauchope.

For the opening 15 minutes of the game it looked certain that Old Bar would extend their three game winning streak.

With five-eighth Kurt Lewis in damaging form the Pirates ran in three converted tries to open up an 18-0 lead.

Hooker Ben Witchard crashed over for the first while Lewis scored the second from a clever kick and chase.

He threw the last pass for centre Daniel Morris to post the third.

Old Bar butchered a further try when winger Al McDonald made a long run down the sideline only to throw a loose pass to an unmarked Morris.

However, mistakes and ill-discipline started to creep into the Old Bar game.

Wingham dominated the rest of the half and pulled back two tries scored by prop Ben Welsh and centre Tim Bridge, making it 18-12 at the break.

The second half belonged to the Tigers, with Old Bar rarely getting out of their own zone.

Pressure was eventually converted into points when winger Aaron Bakewell scored and Michael Rees landed an angled conversion.

Rees, who wore the nine jumper but played as a backrower, was Wingham's best.

He was supported by prop Logan Pocklington and interchange forward Tim Watson, while lock Matt Bartlett produced a big second half, particularly in defence.

As coach Stu Baker later noted, second rower Nathan Gallagher had an impact when introduced into the game from the bench while hooker/halfback Adam Kerr was busy.

The Tigers also managed to subdue Lewis in the second half.

Wingham had all the ball and all the field position and finally Rees bumped off a tackle to crash over and give the home side the lead for the first time.

He added the goal to increase the advantage to 22-18.

The Tigers then received a penalty but opted to go for the try.

This wasn't successful but soon after the Pirates were penalised again and this time the word came from the sideline to go for the two points.

Matt Bridge was successful with the attempt and the Tigers were six clear.

Wingham sealed the deal when Matt Bridge held up a pass and Watson timed his run perfectly to race through a gap and cross for a try just before fulltime.

The conversion rounded off the scoring.