The third round of the competition has seen Waratah take control of the top of the table with a strong 8-3 win over Rutherford.
Their performance showed a glimpse back to their fifth season form that saw them claim the championship, as they locked their opponents out for a 6-0 first half.
The 6-game surge included a last second catch from Eva Bailey, taken on the fly, to snatch the game win and keep Rutherford on the back foot.
The team’s momentum flagged in the second as Rutherford reversed fortunes to claim the half 3-2, but it wasn’t enough to scale the first-half pile, and the ‘Tahs walked away with 4 points and the lofty heights of first.
Hamilton had a chance to snatch back the top spot on point difference as they came up against Raymond Terrace, but a 7-5 win wasn’t enough to change the standings from the first match.
Hamilton left it to the wire again to secure points, with the scoreline locked at 5-5 coming into the final two starts, but two strong performances – and a series of catches from Thomas McCallum in the final round to remove all doubt – bagged them the win.
It wasn’t through lack of trying that Raymond Terrace fell however, as they debuted two new players and had one of the stand-out performers of the round.
Terrace’s captain Peter Goldthorpe, often described as ‘unhittable’, was key to all five of the team’s points as they challenged the repeat champions to the very end, and the now-fifth place team will take confidence from the defeat.
The final match of the round was a special one for Cooks Hill, as the team that has made two of the last three grand finals managed to scrape a point from the match.
Although Benjamin McIntyre’s performance was reminiscent of old forms when he played for Hamilton, mistakes in the early rounds couldn’t keep them in the lead.
The Cookers stumbled at the last hurdle, allowing Belmont to fight back into the match-up and walk away with two points apiece.
Cooks Hill remains on the bottom of the table after the split points, but this early on in the season a win could see them climb as high as third, and a place in the finals once more.
Competition Table: Hamilton (10), Waratah (10), Belmont (6), Rutherford (4), Raymond Terrace (4), Cooks Hill (2).
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