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GPS have gained the Cromwell Cup and scored a must win victory over Easts 19 – 14 at David Wilson Field in a dramatic match that had the large crowd out of their seats and cheering until the last kick.
The game started with the intensity expected from these two teams with GPS needing the win to stay in the hunt for the finals and Easts needing the win to cement their spot.
Big hits and hard rucking characterised the start of the game but GPS were the first to get over the line when James Herbert extended his arm to plant the ball near the posts after the visitors had threatened the line over a number of phases.
The game was shaping up as a battle between GPS dominant forward pack and Easts mercurial backline and it was through this backline that Easts registered their first points.
After stealing a lineout close to their line Easts spread the ball out wide and after a few inside passes from their outside backs Johnny Wilder dived over in the corner to take the score to 7 – 5 after an unsuccessful conversion attempt.
GPS backline was not be outdone however and after a blitzing run by their outside centre they took advantage of a massive overlap to spread the ball out to Josh Logan who scored one the easier tries he’s ever scored.
GPS were over again soon, this time thanks to their forward pack who took a clean lineout close to their line and executed a perfect rolling maul to get the five points with the try being rewarded to Jay Havelu.
GPS were unquestionable on top and Easts needed to score next to stop the game from getting away from them and they did so but only through the boot of Matt Brandon to take the score to 19 – 8 in favour of the visitors.
This didn’t change the momentum and GPS looked certain to score before the half time after a number of tackle busting runs had the Gallopers over the try line twice only to be held up by a desperate Easts defence before the referee blew the whistle for the break.
The second half started pensively with both sides cautious about letting the other get on top but the game was to take a spectacular turn when GPS lost two players in quick succession to the sin bin for poor discipline.
The crowd sensed that the game was on and the noise lifted as Easts went on the front foot looking for the try that would have them back in the game but GPS hung on valiantly forcing the home side to take an easy three points from a penalty.
GPS weathered the loss of two players with relative ease and Easts would have been disappointed that they didn’t seriously threaten the line but incredibly they were given another chance when the Gallopers were yellow carded for the third time, this time for a professional foul.
A game full of incident added another twist when Easts had one of their players yellow-carded for poor discipline, taking the number of payers sent off to four, all within a 20 minute period in the second half.
With so much happening one could be forgiven for forgetting that there was a game going on but there certainly was and it was thrilling side to side, end to end play, with the teams taking advantage of the space to burst tackles and find support but on every occasion the teams pulled off incredible last ditch cover tackles.
Finally Easts secured their bonus point with Matt Brandon slotting home a penalty on the stroke of fulltime making the final score in a dramatic game 19 – 14 in favour of GPS.
After the match GPS coach Shane Arnold was full of pride for his team but not letting the occasion get ahead of what needs to be done.
“(It was) a great win and we’re confident going ahead but there are some things we need to work for instance we should have scored more points. It was a great game from both side and I’m so happy the boys toughed it out.,” Arnold said.
For the Easts, coach Pat Richards said it was about staying calm and looking ahead.
“They out enthused us for much of the game but our boys didn’t lack it, we we’re just a bit poor in our discipline and tried to force the issue instead of letting things happen...if we work on those things over the week then I think we have every chance of beating Uni next week.”
GPS 19 (J. Herbert, J. Havelu, J. Logan tries. A. Tuquiri 2 con) def Easts 14 (J. Wilder try. M Brandon 3 pen)
26 MAY 2013
24 MAY 2013