Bears ball-runner Brad Neill takes on the UQ-Highfields defence on Saturday on the way to helping the Toowoomba team notch a win at Kuhls Road.
Bears ball-runner Brad Neill takes on the UQ-Highfields defence on Saturday on the way to helping the Toowoomba team notch a win at Kuhls Road. Kevin Farmer

Grizzly Bears prevail in thriller

TOOWOOMBA Bears claimed outright second on the Risdon Cup table after handing UQ/Highfields their second successive season loss at Kuhls Road on Saturday.

Bears jumped above the Black Pigs on the premiership ladder with a 39-31 win.

In a see-sawing match, UQ/Highfields pushed Bears throughout, despite appearing on the back foot for most of the match.

But Bears' big territorial advantage finally proved too much for the Black Pigs as they wrapped up a six-tries-to-five victory.

Bears opened the match scoring through a Terry Harvey try before Chris Gillam hit back for UQ/Highfields 20 minutes later when he swooped on a spilt Bears ball near his own line and outpaced the cover defence in an 80-metre dash.

But a converted Nick Hess try three minutes later enabled Bears to take a 12-7 lead into half-time.

The lead changed several times during the first 30 minutes of the second half as the teams swapped tries without being able to grab a decisive margin.

The game was finally busted open five minutes out from time when Andrew Roberts crossed for a converted try which finally gave the Bears some hard-won breathing space at 34-21.

The second half play was highlighted by a smart individual try to the Black Pigs' Matt Adams and a double to Bears under-19 player Lochlan Penberthy.

Despite the victory, Bears coach Andrew McKinnon said his team still has plenty of room for improvement.

"I'm happy to get the points but not as pleased with our execution," McKinnon said.

"It's not as good as we'd like. We are just a little bit off. I'd say we're probably around 70 per cent of where we'd like to be.

"But credit to UQ/Highfields as well.

"I rate them. They have good forwards and they are definitely serious premiership contenders."

UQ/Highfields captain Jack Wilkinson said his team's lack of respect for possession proved its downfall.

"In the first half we were terrible defence-wise," Wilkinson said.

"But wasted possession finally cost us.

"I don't think we were outplayed and at least we finished with a bonus point."

In other matches, Goondiwindi proved too strong for Dalby 60-10, Condamine defeated Roma 28-5 and USQ downed St George 85-12.

Risdon Cup scoreboard

TOOWOOMBA BEARS 39 (Luke Penberthy 2, Terry Harvey, Nick Hess, Mick Makkai, Andrew Roberts tries; Matt Onus three conversions, 1 penalty conversion)

UQ/HIGHFIELDS 31 (Chris Gillam, Andy Carlyle, Matt Adams, Sam Skeat, Paul Maguire tries; Paul Maguire 3 conversions).



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