Mudgee went to the the Country Championships with hopes of success, but left frustrated, disappointed and empty-handed.
The Mudcrabs sent three teams – mixed open, men’s 40s and women’s 30s. All showed glimpses of the high standard they possess, but lady luck wasn’t on their side.
The men’s 40s were denied a finals spot on for and against, likewise for the mixed open wanting to advance to the A-grade finals series, while the women’s 30s finished fifth after going down in a play-off.
Playing in their first rep tournament, the women’s 30s came up against some strong sides in Jerrabomberra, Wagga Wagga, Dubbo and Newcastle. They had to beat Newcastle in their final match to sneak into the top 4 but the Knights were too strong, winning 4-1. The defeat has not scared the players off as they contemplate December’s State Cup.
One team who will be looking on a better showing at the State Cup is the mixed open team. Drawn in a tough pool, they won two of their four matches – 7-5 against Dubbo and 4-3 against ACT-based club Gungahlin. They went down to Port Macquarie (6-4) and Newcastle (4-3), which put them in a difficult position to make the A-grade finals, a predicament they had no control over.
To make the top division, Mudgee needed Dubbo to beat Newcastle by three touchdowns, the Devils did beat the Knights but won by a margin of five. Mudgee were thrown into the B-grade semis and unfortunately, the Mudcrabs were left frustrated and shattered as Forster won 5-4.
The men’s 40s wanted to make the finals but in a cruel blow, they were denied by two touchdowns. The elder statesmen improving from their Hornets campaign, celebrating a big 6-0 win over Parkes and pushed Maitland 4-2.
Meanwhile, Mudgee Touch’s referee’s arm got a lot stronger with Drew Cini upgraded to Level 3. And Mudgee referees Justin Brydon (Women’s senior), Ben Harris (Women’s 20s) and Ivan Giammarco (Men’s B-grade) were all appointed grand finals. Giammarco had a stellar weekend named the leading senior referee (over 40) at the tournament.