Mudgee Wombats grab last gasp draw

VITAL KICK: Lewis Fawcett lines up the penalty goal that brought the Wombats level with CSU at Jubilee Oval on Saturday.
VITAL KICK: Lewis Fawcett lines up the penalty goal that brought the Wombats level with CSU at Jubilee Oval on Saturday.

The Mudgee Wombats may still be searching for their first win of 2017, but their 22-all draw with CSU was still a relief.

A penalty goal at full time by Wombats fullback Lewis Fawcett pegging back the visitors, who had lead most of the match.

The students opened the scoring after the Wombats failed to clear the ball from their own end and Matt Dalton scoring in the corner. After again trapping the home side at their own end a well weighted kick led to a try to Fraser McCormack.

When the Wombats finally had possession in good field position it looked promising, however two chances were squandered with a knock-on and a pass going out over the sideline. Good movement and spreading the ball saw Fawcett put Mudgee on the board.

A penalty to CSU at the Wombats' end led to Lincoln Sterling crossing and the visitors taking a 19-7 lead at half time.

Jack Keppel slotted a penalty goal for the students and from the kick off Mudgee's James Ford latched onto the bouncing ball to score under the posts.

Shortly after an intercept by Tom O'Leary put the Wombats in good field position and winger Tukere Adams scored in the corner to take it to 22-19.

A missed penalty by CSU proved costly as the Wombats charged it out of their own end and a penalty for a knock down at the death led to Fawcett slotting the goal and drawing level.

Wombats coach Tony Muller said, “in the second half we played really well, we settled down and got a bit of structure about us and the team started to believe a little bit, then we just missed out”.

“But to come back from 19-7 at half time and to win the second half 15-3 is a good sign.You could see it meant a lot to them, that bit of euphoria will hopefully help them to prepare for next weekend [against Parkes]. We'll need to be better than we were today, but if we can play both halves like we played the second half then we'll make it a good contest.”

CSU's Ben McNiven said, “it's frustrating to go from a shot at goal for us and a miss to a penalty just inside our half and they knock it over”.

“It's heartbreaking, these guys have put in a half a year of effort and to have that one taken away at the last minute is a tough one to swallow. But I'm really happy with the defence of the boys and the character they showed, [Mudgee] were camping on our line a fair bit and it's easy to fall into a rut but we turned it around every chance we got in that last quarter.”

1ST GRADE: MUDGEE 22 (Lewis Fawcett, James Ford,  Tukere Adams tries; Fawcett 2, Ford goals) draw CSU 22 (Matt Dalton, Fraser McCormack, Lincoln Sterling tries; Jack Keppel 3 goals); 2ND GRADE: MUDGEE 22 def CSU 5; COLTS: MUDGEE 29 def CSU 24.