SCU Marlins better than Snappers but again fall just short
INJURED Southern Cross University captain-coach Cameron Smith was a lonely figure as shadows lengthened at Marlins Park on Saturday.
His emotions made it hard to speak after watching his team go within a heartbeat of recording the first ever win over Coffs Harbour since returning to Mid North Rugby three years back.
Snappers won 29-23, but only after SCU had a try disallowed in the very last second of the match.
Admittedly, it would have left Marlins one point behind their cross-town rivals but the kicker would have been dead in line with the left hand goal post and the winning conversion was almost a certainty.
After gathering his thoughts, Smith was eventually able to acknowledge how he felt.
"Superb effort and so physical but this is how it's been all this season," he said.
"It's still shattering."
To have any chance of winning, Marlins needed to establish parity from the first whistle.
They not only did that but made most of the running.
At one stage they had established a 10-point lead and while Snappers eventually got in front 15 minutes into the second half, the home side came back at them again and again.
Uni's chief tormentors were wingers Waqa Yaya and Koen Mieni who not only went over for two tries each but timed their scoring to moments when it seemed Marlins were finally getting on top.
The boys in blue and white were without doubt the best side on the day but that doesn't always count in a tight sporting contest.
"It needs to be noted we deserved a better result than we got," Smith added.
"We've been unlucky, come so close so often and it's heartbreaking."
To say Coffs coach Rob Waddy was relieved is putting it mildly.
He agreed the side had not been as mentally prepared at kick-off as they should have been but was forgiving under the circumstances.
"Such a good win last week had to be followed by a letdown," he said.
"We got the points so I'm not going to be too tough on them and I hope (The Coffs Coast Advocate) won't be either.
"Yes, we are now under a bit of pressure with Hastings next up but at least I expect us to be focussed for that from the beginning."
While it was hard to fault any SCU player, Coffs Harbour five-eighth Kris Kent was in superb touch and his important role as link man made a huge difference between success and failure.
Upper Mid North Coast Rugby
Coffs Harbour Snappers d Southern Cross University Marlins 29-23
Hastings Valley Vikings d Port Macquarie Pirates 31-30
Kempsey Cannonballs bye
Coffs Harbour d SCU 52-28
Port Macquarie d Hastings Valley 17-3
Bowraville Goannas d Kempsey 39-31
Coffs Harbour d Port Macquarie on forfeit
Bowraville d Kempsey 30-12
SCU d Coffs Harbour 19-5
Port Macquarie d Hastings Valley 66-5
Kempsey d Dorrigo Rangers 24-22