Shamrocks Hang On Over Campbelltown

By Ron Wood

In a game of two halves at Ocean Park, Woonona on Saturday, Shamrocks have hung onto a share of third spot on the ladder with a 19 – 17 victory over a strong finishing Campbelltown outfit. Shamrocks showing all their customary enthusiasm raced to a 19 – 5 lead at the break with the Quinnies lacking effort in the first period.

The second half was a different story with the Quinnies producing a much more vigorous effort holding the Rocks scoreless as they put on two second half tries. Both s ides scored three tries in a match that could have gone either way. Another workaholic defensive effort from the outweighed Shamrocks side saw the Rocks hold on over the last fifteen minutes of the match to get the all-important four competition points.

Shamrocks ran with a strong breeze in the first forty with Fly Half Ben Ridgeway contributing fourteen of their nineteen points. Ridgeway crossed first after twelve minutes as he ducked under a poor attempted tackle to score from twenty meters out. Three minutes later Rocks Captain Damien Clark, playing at No.8, took full advantage of some clever attacking play from jockey sized center Liam Rountree. Rountree ran the ball from his own half drawing several defenders before putting Clark free down the western touchline. Clark scored wide out and with Ridgeway on target with the conversion the Rocks led 12 - 0 after fifteen minutes.

Minutes later Alex Sherwin pulled one back for the Quinnies scoring after several phases of strong forward play in the Rocks quarter. Capping off twelve frantic minutes of scoring Ridgeway chased through a kick to regain the ball and score and convert giving the Rocks a 19 – 7 lead after twenty five minutes of play. Both sides struggled to put any quality attack together as defense became the order of the day through to the break.

Campbelltown came out after the break with a different mindset with wingman Onisimoemosi Rokotuinasau setting the tone of the half with a strong run down the touchline in which he beat four defenders to score. Giant Quinnies No.8 Laitia Tuitatava began to dominate with some power running which troubled the Rocks smaller forwards.

Tuitatava’s impact on the game bore fruit at the midway mark of the half as he powered his way down the eastern side touchline to score and with the conversion by fullback Robbie Labalaba the Quinnies found themselves within two of the lead at 17 – 19.  

All things suggested that the Quinnies were going to power away with the game but the fighting defensive spirit that the Rocks have become renowned for enabled the side to deny the best the Quinnies could muster in attack as the Rocks got away with the competition points.      

Best for the Rocks were skipper Clark and hardworking forwards Xavier McDevitt, Dale Sullivan and Hooker Harry Devine in his 100th game. Halfback Corey Aylett provided extraordinary service to his outside backs, taking three points in the IDRU Player of the Year Award. Fly half Ridgeway remained busy throughout with center Liam Rountree and Fullback Ben Stewart also busy.

For Campbelltown No. 8 Tuitatava was prominent especially in the second term, with Flanker Saisamoa Laga strong and prop Alex Sherwin toiling all day.

Shamrocks 19 (Damien Clark 1 try, Ben Ridgeway 2 tries, 2 goals)

Def Campbelltown 17 (Alex Sherwin 1 try, Onisimoemosi Rokotuinasau 1 try, Laitai Tuitatava 1 try, Robbie Labalaba 1 goal).

Other Match Results

Avondale 45 Def Camden 6

Shoalhaven 47 Def Bowral 5

Kiama 42 Def University 17

Tech Waratahs Def Vikings by Forfeit