Snappers take charge in dying moments while Marlins go down
A LATE try allowed Coffs Harbour to edge out Kempsey 24-17 at TG Jung Quarries Rugby Park.
The visiting Cannonballs were awfully unlucky not to claim a share of points after levelling scores in the dying stages.
They made a fatal lapse in concentration and allowed the Snappers to clinch the vital competition points.
Winning coach Rob Waddy felt it should never have got so close.
"We scored two good tries in the first half but in the fatal period leading up to half time, allowed them to cross our line," he said.
"Then then came out and score again to put us under pressure.
"By my reckoning we should have put them away early but had to pull a bit extra out in the final five minutes."
Coffs poured on the pressure as the Cannonballs tired but the coach said the field condition hampered efforts to cross the stripe.
"It's boggy and best described as terrible but the boys kept composure and kept plugging away."
It's the second time in as many weeks that Kempsey has stumbled before one of the northern outfits.
Last week's conqueror Southern Cross University wasn't able to keep the momentum rolling and went down 34-6 to Port Pirates at Rugby Park.
SCU coach Brett Davis was left deflated by not being able to get across the try line.
"A couple of good chances but nothing that was good," he said.
"There are so many youngsters in the team and while things are starting to gel, it's a challenge.
"We turned the ball over a lot and gave Port a couple of runaway tries which really blew the score out."
Meanwhile, former Mid North Coast power team Grafton won for the first time since returning to the zone.
The Redmen had a handsome win against Wauchope leaving Thunder the only winless outfit.
Grafton d Wauchope 50-17
Coffs Harbour d Kempsey 24-17
Port Macquarie d SCU 34-6
Hastings Valley bye
Grafton d Wauchope 57-0
Coffs Harbour d Kempsey 15-7
Hastings Valley d Bowraville 29-10
SCU d South West Rocks 14-5
Port Macquarie bye
Coffs Harbour d Kempsey on forfeit
Bowraville d Hastings Valley 24-5
Port Macquarie d Southern Cross University 5-0
Coffs Harbour d Kempsey 42-14
SCU d Port Macquarie 31-7
Hastings Valley bye
Coffs Harbour d Kempsey 40-10
SCU d Port Macquarie 47-5
First grade bye for NSW Country Championships in Armidale
Port Macquarie v Coffs Harbour
SCU v Grafton
Hastings Valley v Wauchope