Mid North Coast Rugby: Port Pirates defeat Wauchope Thunder 32-13

THEY weren’t good, but they were good enough.

Port Pirates continued their winning ways with a hard-fought 32-13 victory over Wauchope Thunder at Stuart Park on Saturday.

Seven days after being belted 95-0, the Thunder led 13-8 in the shadows of half-time only to concede a try under the posts just as the siren sounded for the break.

From there, Pirates did enough to register yet another win in a match coach Nigel Hurlston labelled as nothing to write home about.

“As a spectator the game would have been as boring as [anything],” Hurlston said.

“There were continuous mistakes, there was no flow and it was really stop-start.”

It was in stark contrast to their 62-41 victory over Kempsey last weekend.

“Everything we touched turned to gold last week,” Hurlston said.

The Pirates coach admitted the Thunder performance was “gutsy” and it surprised his own players.

“It didn’t for me, but it probably did for them,” he said.

“For a team that got beaten 95-0 last week, that sort of result could destroy a team, but they dug in.

For a team that got beaten 95-0 last week, that sort of result could destroy a team, but they dug in.

Port Pirates coach Nigel Hurlston

“We could have lost the game, but we didn’t so we’ll move on to next week.”

Thunder vice-president Paddy Bowen said it had been a tough initiation for the club over the last couple of years.

“It’s been a really tough competition for a couple of the boys to cut their teeth in,” he said.

“It’s been a tough road, but we’re starting to get some dividends.”

Bowen conceded Wauchope simply didn’t have the depth in the club to cover any injuries or absences in the top grade.

A lack of a reserve grade side also made things tough.

“We just don’t have that roster where we can cover when there are one or two blokes missing; it’s a matter of depth for us,” he said.

“Wauchope is a town that’s dominated by rugby league, so we have blokes that are playing their first-ever game of rugby and they’re playing in first grade.

“It’s a baptism of fire for a couple of them, but over time these players will become better rugby players.”

While they didn’t get the right result, Bowen felt it was their most-improved performance in 12 months.

It’s a baptism of fire for a couple of them, but over time these players will become better rugby players.

Wauchope Thunder vice-president Paddy Bowen

“It was probably our most complete performance,” he said.

“Last year we led teams like Grafton and Southern Cross University at half-time and then took the foot off the pedal in the second half and the score blew out.

“We were still in the mix against Pirates and it was a 60 to 65-minute performance.

“The last 15 minutes is where it got away from us.”

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