Alloway sneaks in
A SCORELESS second stanza made for a nail-biting semi-final on Friday night, and despite throwing everything at Alloway Ascot Falcons, the East Coast Buccaneers fell four points short.
The Buccs had a chance to score the match-winner after the siren, but stoic defence on both wings repelled the ad-lib attack.
It looked as if the Buccs had crossed in the corner, but the touch judge’s flag was raised and, with it, the Alloway boys celebrated.
The 12-8 victory means Alloway will line up against heavyweights Hervey Bay Mariners in this Friday’s grand final, after a Barbarians forfeit gifted them an easy passage to the decider.
Alloway were deserved winners, playing with better structure and discipline than their wayward opposition, but the attacking brilliance of Matt Tanner, Nigel Shield and co threatened to snatch the game from their grasp.
The Buccs were always on the back foot — their application of the breakdown rules was almost comical at times and meant they were on the wrong end of countless penalties.
Repeat offences in the ruck led to Buccs captain-coach Stewart Milowski getting 10 minutes in the bin — the first of five such disciplinary actions in the 80-minute encounter.
“They were very ill-disciplined. It was hard to get any momentum and retain structure because the game wasn’t flowing, but we stuck to our plan and I’m just ecstatic with the win,” Alloway coach Nathan Freeman said.
Flyhalf Andy Filo was enterprising for Alloway, while scrum-half and captain Hugh Byrne was solid once again.
Star inside centre Dave Vaihu stormed through the advantage line with every run in another stand-out performance.
His form has made him the hottest property ahead of the 2010 BRL season and several offers have reportedly already been tabled.
He ran over untouched off the back of a scrum late in the first half and the conversion gave them, in the end, the decisive four-point lead.
“We gave it everything we had but we fell just short,” Buccs captain Stewart Milowski said.
“We showed at the end what we could do it we put a few sequences together, but we just couldn’t get over the line.”