Gallant Knights stage comeback for the middle ages
THE Harbour Knights overturned a 10-point deficit in emphatic style against Tamworth Magpies to book their place in the New England Rugby Union First Grade grand final.
The Knights went into the sheds during their do-or-die clash 15 – 5 down, having seen little of the ball and probably wondering if they were destined to experience a repeat of their Round 5 loss.
But whatever coaches Brendan Hoy and AJ Gilbert said to the boys at half-time worked, as the Knights put on a second-half masterclass to ensure the club will be fighting for silverware in all three grades next week.
Second-half tries to the Knights’ Max Shaw, AJ Gilbert, Chris Watkins and Peter Uikelotu went unanswered until close to the final siren, but it a case of too little too late for the Magpies who will rue the missed opportunity to play a grand final in front of their home fans.
The Knights will now face Walcha Rams in Tamworth, a fixture that will be sure to excite die hard fans of both clubs and rugby-loving neutrals.
The sides last met in Round 2, playing out a 31-all draw in a thrilling spectacle.
It was the closest Walcha came to losing all season and the side will enter the contest slim favourites, despite the Knights hitting form and recovering from an injury riddled season at an opportune time.
With the Knights’ undefeated Second Division side already assured of a grand final spot courtesy of their big win over Tamworth last week, the pressure was on the other two teams to try for a clean sweep.
The Third Grade side kept up their end, beginning the day with a convincing 19 – 5 win over the Armidale Blues to set up a date with heavy-hitters Tamworth.
It has been a great year for Knights – a joint venture between SCU Marlins and Coffs Harbour Snappers who were eager to get their players a game following the implosion of the seniors’ Mid North Coast Rugby Union season.
Tickets for the grand final day at Scully Park will be limited and second release tickets go on sale at 9am tomorrow on the Wests Tamworth website.