Midwest Rugby League’s late-season Community Cup, played at the Carcoar sportsground, was won 34-28 by Blackheath Blackcats over Midwest rivals for 53 years Kandos Waratahs.
Since 1971 teams from Blackheath and Kandos have won more than 20 premierships between them but this year was only the third time the two sides have played in a title decider, the last time in 1980 when Blackheath won 16-3.
Blackheath settled early in the grand final with their rhythm and scored the first two tries and led for almost the entire game, forcing Kandos to play catch-up football until the Waratahs, with late-game momentum, evened up the score at 28-all.
With desperate attack and defence the last couple of minutes of the grand final could have seen either team score and win, but Blackheath prevailed with a last-minute converted try to Ryan Dukes to take the 2023 title.
All of the sides included a number of first division players from surrounding Group 10 clubs and promising up-and-coming youngsters, and provided entertaining and competitive football for the four weeks of competition.
WESTERN WOMENS RUGBY LEAGUE
Reigning premiers, Bathurst’s Panorama Platypi, a week out from the first WWRL semi-final, have turned up the flame on their rivals but will miss out on two weeks’ valuable match practice.
Platypi showed their premiership intent when they defeated the high-flying Goannas from Dubbo in round 5 by 18 points, but last week lost some momentum when their game against Lachlan District was declared a forfeit.
While their rivals continue to gain match condition Platypi will take a double blow in this week’s final premiership round with the round 7 bye causing more interruption to their momentum, but just as importantly, two unplayed games in a row and just a week out from the first of the finals games.
Still holding down the top spot on the ladder, Platypi will go into their semi-final next week not having played a game for three weeks.
The Bathurst side has shown much strength and resolve week by week in their regular matches but, with strong clubs like Vipers and Goannas hovering, this blip to their regular routine will push their enthusiasm and skills to the limit.
They will not play another regular-season game but will continue to train in readiness for next week’s semi-final.
The three other games in this weekend’s final round 7 are Mudgee at home to Vipers, Woodbridge hosting Goannas, and Lachlan District to play Castlereagh.