IT WAS not meant to be for the under 18s Bluedogs.
The Cooma Colts rallied a strong effort late in the second half and narrowly edge out the Merimbula/Pambula/Bombala squad by just two-points.
Being awarded a penalty on the Bluedogs’ 20 metre line, and with only three minutes to play, the Colts opted for a kick and bagged the two points to come away winners 28-26.
The day started well for the Bluedogs, posting the early points on the back of strong runs by Jackson Standen, Beau Britten and Jarrod Dewberry.
Cooma retaliated quickly and with the scores matching up, both teams settled into a heavy-hitting fast pace.
Both teams suffered a few strains and injuries as a result of the high impact play, so the interchange benches were getting a good workout.
Both teams were defending well through the ruck and up the field, but as soon as play neared either try line, gaps started to form.
Scoring flowed easily for both teams, but as half time neared Pambula held a narrow lead and things looked hopeful for the home crowd.
In the second half it was the Bluedogs who came out strong, with blistering runs and clever sweeping plays from its wingers.
Twenty minutes into the second half the ‘Dogs looked far and away favourites as they had advanced their lead to 26-18 over Cooma.
Dewberry was leading the way for the Bluedogs, taking home a triple and converting his own efforts.
Ryan Becker and Harry Sellers were running the ball hard for the Bluedogs and pushing play forward.
Meanwhile, the Bluedogs’ pace men were wolverines, throwing themselves into tackles on Cooma’s big forward pack.
Nick Hehir, James McMillan, Zach Mikula and Kye Burns were all wrapping up the Colts’ attack well.
Needing two converted tries to even level the score and with the clock winding down Cooma’s efforts seemed out of steam.
However, a rallying cry from their captain saw the Colts regain composure and start to put together some clever plays.
The Bluedogs’ were getting frustrated with penalties seeing play hand over to Cooma in defensive territory.
Cooma quickly posted a try, but the Bluedogs were hopeful the conversion would miss from the angle.
It was not to be, with the kick clearing the posts neatly, Cooma trailed by only one converted try with about 10 minutes to play.
The Colts surged again into attack and on the back of big runs from its forward pack found themselves knocking on the Bluedogs’ try line.
Cooma posted another quick try and converted, with just four minutes to play the scores were locked.
The Bluedogs looked to have shut down the Colts attack at the 20 metre line which would have sent the game to extra time, but Cooma was awarded a penalty and opted to kick, nailing the two-points.
The Bluedogs rallied valiantly, but were locked out by a solid defence from the Colts in their final set.