MUDGEE DRAGONS' EXTRA-TIME HEARTBREAK
A determined Mudgee Dragons side fell all but one point behind the Bathurst Panthers from their quest for the Group 10 premier league crown at Carrington Park in September.
The Dragons forced the defending champions into an extra-time battle after a defence-oriented match finished 8-all at full-time. The boot of Doug Hewitt proved the difference in the additional time, with the coach kicking home the winning field goal from close range.
Dragons coach Jack Littlejohn said the Panthers' second half try put a dent in the team's momentum.
"I'm disappointed, I thought we had it. Our defence was so good all game. I can't believe we let it slip like that," he said.
"We lost it ourselves in that extra time and with that one try underneath the posts. It's hard because we dug deep all game. Everyone expected us to come here and get a flogging.
"We're down on troops, we've got five who would have been in our start side out and Timmy Condon who played 80 minutes with a torn hamstring.
"I'm so proud of the boys. It's our first year together and we will be bigger and better next year."
Having finished the regular season in third, the Dragons lost to Panthers in the first week of the finals series. But they then downed Lithgow and booked their spot for the big day after taking a 14-0 shut-out victory over the Orange Hawks on a blustery, cold day in Orange.
"That's one of the best games I think we've played this year so that's great to go into a grand final off that," a chuffed Littlejohn said post-game.
The season started well for the side, occupying first-place on the ladder with five wins and a loss from their first six games of 2019. This done on the back of their strong defence, with just 89 points - a touch under 15 points per game - conceded.
They signalled their intent for a big year at the annual Bathurst Panthers Rugby League Knockout, becoming the first side in four years to snatch the title away from the competition's namesake.
Having made plenty of off-season moves and, under the guidance of former NRL player Littlejohn, they showed showed they were a side to keep tabs on during the season proper - after besting Blayney Bears, Orange CYMS and finally Orange Hawks in the decider at Carrington Park.
GULGONG TERRIERS' SEASON ENDS AT SEMIS
The Gulgong Terriers' Castlereagh League season ended at the hands of the Trangie Magpies, following a 20-12 minor semi final loss at Billy Dunn Oval.
It was an unceremonious end to the season for the side, who'd finished the regular season in third place.
With a match that would probably be remembered more for the inability of either side to treasure possession than anything else, the visitors maintained the momentum that saw them down the defending premiers the previous week.
The Terriers had an up-and-down season, but a highlight would no doubt been their mammoth 70-10 victory over Coonamble at home in June. They backed it up the following week by holding eventual premiers Coonabarabran out for a draw, becoming the first side this year to take any points away from a clash with the high-flying Unicorns.
Even though Dunedoo finished the home-and-away season equal with Trangie, a for-and-against of -119 (compared to the Magpies' +35) kept a semi-finals berth out of reach.
MUDGEE WOMBATS SIDES STRONG IN FINALS
The Mudgee Wombats narrowly missed out on making an appearance in this year's New Holland Agriculture Cup grand final, when their season was ended by CSU 32-29.
Prior to that the Batties enjoyed a minor semi final over Blayney, the second of back-to-back victories over the Rams, having finished off a strong regular season in style with a 50-5 demolition.
CSU would go on to take the 2019 title, but the semi-final was an example of the local side pushing them all the way.
Another being Round 12, with the narrow 24-19 final score ensuring that the students didn't have an easy trip to The Burrow.
It was up to the second grade side to fly the red, white and blue on grand final day.
And they did their best to cause an upset against Narromine, surprising them to take an early lead, but ultimately falling 19-8.
The Wombats women finished their season a valiant eighth place, in the 15-team comp.
While their under 15s side went all the way to Central West Junior grand final day, but met a juggernaut in the Dubbo Kangaroos team.
MUDGEE DISTRICT NETBALL ASSOCIATION JUNIORS EXCEED EXPECTATIONS
Once upon a time Mudgee District Netball Association was considered the 'weaker' club in the Central West, but after its juniors' representative performance at the State Titles, this is no longer the case.
Heading into the competition, the bar was set high with hopes of achieving a top 10 result for the 12s and 14s, while the 13s were looking for a top four victory.
However, with a combination of hard work, dedication and teamwork, all three squads exceeded expectations.
The 12s came in equal first in division three but were pushed back to second due to a countback, 13s placed first in division four, while the 14s finished in 8th, two places up on last year.
NORTH-WEST FALCONS HEAD TO PENALTY SHOOT-OUT
The grand final between the North West Falcons and East Dubbo United needed to be decided by penalty shoot-out, with the Gulgong side missing out on the trophy.
Having booked their spot on the big day with a golden-goal victory over Dubbo FC the previous week, the green-and-black machine then fought back from 3-1 down to tie the decider, only to be denied after scoreless extra time and the dot-shots to break the deadlock.
Nevertheless, it was a positive year for the Falcons men, who finished the regular season in second place - during which they were the only side to get a win against EDU.
The club's ladies side endured a challenging 2019 in first-grade, but are looking forward to the lower division next year.
CHWC SEE OFF BRAND ME IN FITTINGLY CLOSE DECIDER
Chiropractic Health and Wellness Centre (CHWC) saw off Brand Me Mudgee 4-1 in a high quality Mudgee Hockey mixed senior grand final.
Nick Seis started of the scoring 15 minutes after the whistle, taking what would be Brand Me's only point.
CHWC answered with a goal from Shane Ah Sam that would see the half-time score sit at 1-all.
It wasn't until the final 10 minutes of the game that the deadlock was broken by Ah Sam, with Christian Caligari and Ryan Hislop each scored minutes later to put the icing on the cake.
A tight decider was appropriate as a few points separated the top three teams heading into the finals.
MAYSO'S AND PREDATORS MEET AGAIN IN A GRADE GF
They were heading in favourites to the A grade men's Mudgee Basketball Association grand final, and Mayso's Pro Shop didn't disappoint.
Up against Edmunds Interior Predators, who entered on the back of a 57-54 slim victory against Just Brick It, Mayso's were expected to come out on top.
But at half-time the Predators were up by four points.
Eventually it was the favourites who claimed the 2019 title with a 32-29 victory.
B grade men went to Stride Health, Flames won the Girls' comp, with Taipans and Mudgee Travel and Cruise Hawks taking the boys division 1 and 2 respectively.