The Redbacks and Gungahlin Eagles didn’t result in the win Braidwood was aiming for but the final score was indicative of the evenness of the two combatants.
Saturday at the Braidwood Recreation Grounds a large crowd of spectators both local and visitors turned out for the golden oldies game and the South Coast Monaro regional round 15 game.
It was also the Redbacks’ sponsors day with the club providing refreshments for sponsor representatives who took advantage of the near perfect weather to spend an afternoon watching some entertaining rugby union.
The Braidwood Redbacks held their annual Sponsors Day on a beautiful Saturday afternoon at the Braidwood Recreation Ground. With a large crowd at hand the Redbacks welcomed Gungahlin who are currently playing for a finals berth in the South Coast Monaro competition. Gungahlin also brought out their Golden Oldies side to provide the pre-game entertainment in an epic battle with the Braidwood Daddy Long Legs. After the traditional player drenching by Redbacks Treasurer Richard Walker, the Daddy Long Legs and Gungahlin Old Boys hobbled onto the field and put on a display of clinical free moving rugby union. In a highly entertaining game that saw no penalties, complicated set moves, strong defence and exceptional sportsmanship, the eventual score line of 7 all was a fitting result to the calibre of both teams and exception high standard of the game. The only serious injury went local musical comedian Hamish Hudson who blew a shoulder when, well…..we don’t know what he was doing!!! Hamish then had his shoulder strapped after the game to allow him to play the guitar as the entertainment at the after match function!
The main game then kicked off at 2:30pm. The Redbacks were without their hooker Luke Cumming and flanker Luke Turner through sickness and injury, but were strengthen by the return of loose forwards Joel Jordon, Tim Moffitt and winger Tim Foster. The Redbacks started the game strongly with Cade Graf again leading the way with multiple forward raids up the middle. Incrementally the Redbacks started to bring their backs into the game with some impressive running by centres Leland Blyton and Harry Shoemark. However, even with a strong breeze behind them the Redbacks were unable to turn possession into points. Gungahlin scored a try mid way through the half and took a five to nil lead into the break. After some strong words from coach Kemp the Redbacks came into the second half with renewed vigour, and with the large vocal crowd behind them started throwing the ball around a bit more freely. An impressive backline move saw speedster Harry Shoemark break the Gungahlin line and sprint down the wing to score in the corner.
The try was impressively converted from the sideline by fullback Ben Howard to put the Redbacks in unfamiliar territory, leading midway through the second half. Gungahlin then let loose a number of raids on the Redbacks line which were defended valiantly, one raid resulting in a turnover that saw the ball kicked back into the Gungahlin half. The ensuing footrace saw Harry Shoemark expertly pick up the ball in full flight and score under the posts. With a missed conversion, the Redbacks went to a 12-7 lead.
With five minutes to go Gungahlin attacked desperately to get over the line and were rewarded much to the dismay of the large crowd with the very last play of the day. With a successful conversion, the game ended with a 12-12 draw and accolades from the home crowd and Redbacks coaching staff who could not be more proud of the boys! Three points went to Billy Hatzis, two points to Harry Shoemark and one point to Gus Sherriff. Players player went to Harry Shoemark and Chick’s Pick to Leland Blyton.
The after game activities saw all players, sponsors and supporters back at the Royal Hotel (thanks to Jamie for hosting us due to large function at the club) fed with an exquisite James Gunderson curry and entertained by an injured Hamish Hudson.
Special thanks for the day goes out to Kaitlin Bray, Hayley Quill and friends for supporting the logistics of the day, and George Sherriff for organising the food. Additionally, the Redbacks would like to thank all their wonderful sponsors including major sponsors the Serviceman’s Club, Braidwood Community Bank, Nova Systems, Pybar Mining, Landmark and the IGA for providing the raffle prize. A massive thanks also goes out to the Gungahlin Eagles Rugby Union Club for supporting both the afternoon and evening activities and for being a strong advocate of country rugby union.