CYMS have produced a scratchy but determined win over one of their bogey sides
Missing their two key playmakers in coach Michael Sullivan and Matt Rose, CYMS looked for long periods as though their relatively ordinary record at Carrington Park would continue before coming away with a 28-16 win.
A multitude of handling errors continually invited Panthers into the game and, when the men in black took a 12-6 lead early in the second half and a 16-12 buffer mid-way through it, their recent superiority over CYMS looked set to continue.
On the back of a rampant Simon Osborne though, as well as the likes of Ben McAlpine and Trent Rose, the competition heavyweights escaped with the points.
“To complete at about 50 per cent and still win is a bit of a positive, I guess it has to be said, we showed a lot of commitment in defence and really we had to given how many errors we made,” Sullivan said.
“We’ve had a lot of trouble winning here in the last few years and the tightness of today’s match re-confirmed that a bit.
“I’m really happy with how we played through the middle at times. The likes of Simon Osborne, Trent Rose and Riley Law were all very good but we will have to improve again, we’ve got some big tests to come against some other good packs.”
Panthers had the better of the game early and spent most of the first 15 minutes camped in CYMS’ territory.
But they were soon on the back foot thanks to a concussion to half Joey Bugg that ended his afternoon. He was smashed by a rampant Osborne in what would become a recurring theme all game.
The teams traded errors and penalties from there until half-time approached, before a desperate home side held out four straight sets from the visitors and promptly went up the other end and scored.
Prop Greg Behan was responsible, having returned to the field following a nasty cut that required close attention from the trainers.
Locked at 6-all at the break, Panthers were first to score afterwards as Jeremy Gordon sent Jay McClintock over with a great pass, and at that stage all the momentum was with Panthers.
CYMS winger Semisi Katoa, powerful all game, got his team level again only for Sandon Gibbs-O’Neill to put Chris Shephard over and re-establish a Panthers lead at 16-12.
Osborne came back onto the field though with immediate effect, a massive charge leading to a Robbie Mortimer try on the left edge, and with 12 minutes to play CYMS reclaimed the lead with Tim Mortimer dummying and scooting across himself.
Four minutes from time and with Panthers set up to try and prevent a field goal that would take the margin to seven points, Tim Mortimer iced the match by shifting the ball to McAlpine who dived over for his team’s fifth try.
“It is disappointing to lose, errors hurt us at crucial times and CYMS were able to take advantage of ours, we couldn’t quite do the same with theirs,” Panthers player-coach Todd Barrow said afterwards.
“But I couldn’t be prouder of our team. We lost Joey Bugg five minutes into the game, Greg Behan missed a lot of it getting his cut treated and wasn’t 100 per cent. I thought we really had a go today.
“The result didn’t go our way, but we did a lot of good things and, as I said, I’m very proud of them.”
ORANGE CYMS 28 (Trent Rose, Semisi Katoa, Ben McAlpine, Robbie Mortimer, Tim Mortimer tries; Ben McAlpine 4 goals) def BATHURST PANTHERS 16 (Chris Shephard, Jay McClintock, Greg Behan tries; Jeremy Gordon 2 goals).