The Tricolours have maintained their winning ways in the GrainCorp Cup, holding off a fast-finishing Rams outfit 43-29 at Condobolin on Saturday.
Fullback Berkerley Hardie was the star of the show, bagging four tries in a scintillating performance while Sam Bush, Bob Scott and skipper Joshua Hudson kept the scoreboard ticking with tries of their own.
It wasn’t always smooth sailing as the eighth-placed Rams took advantage of a lacklustre Cootamundra start, scoring inside five minutes to hold an unlikely 7-0 lead.
Stung into action, the Tricolours lifted from the kick-off and secured possession deep in the Condo 22, piling pressure on the Rams’ defence.
Dropped ball again proved costly for the ‘Colours with a number of half-chances left begging but nothing could stop Hardie from cantering over in the 9th minute from a well-worked phase play.
Hudson was next to score, crashing over midway through the half to put the visitors ahead after a patient eight-phase buildup in attacking territory.
Missed chances off the tee kept Condo in the game but a wayward penalty kick in the 28th minute repaid the favour, keeping the ‘Colours ahead by three.
It seemed the margin would hold for the main break but Hardie clearly thought otherwise, straightening a promising challenge down the left wing to stroll over under the posts on the halftime siren, the conversion sending Coota ahead 17-7.
Oranges proved pivotal for the ‘Colours as the visitors shot out of the blocks, stunning Condo with two quickfire tries, first through Hardie off the back of an Ash Hamilton linebreak before Bush belied his second-rowers’ tag to show the Rams fullback a clean pair of heels enroute to the whitewash.
A Bob Scott converted try in the 55th minute stretched the margin to 31 before Condo struck twice in 10 minutes, capitalising on some woeful ‘Colours defence to drag the scoreline back to 38-19.
Hardie’s fourth try, a sensational diving effort to pounce on a grubber in-goal, put the result to bed but two late tries to a courageous Condobolin side saw the ref blow time on a fitting 14-point Tricolours win.
“It was a really good game of footy and Condo were a pleasure to play against,” Hudson said postgame.
“They’re a good side and they were really tough at home so we’re pleased to come away with a win.”
Meanwhile, the Tricollettes are raring to go against ladder-leaders West Wyalong in Saturday’s upcoming clash at Weevil Park.
The hit-out will be Cootamundra’s last before finals and captain Robyn Armstrong is keen to battle it out against the competition’s finest.
The old boys’ fixture kicks off at 2pm before the women at 3pm and men at 3.30pm.