SOUTHERN Cross University captain Rory Beech put in a man-of-the-match performance as the Marlins claimed the 2018 Mid North Coast Rugby Union under-14 title on Saturday.
Beech crossed for a second-half double as the Marlins kicked clear in the final stages of their 24-12 win over Hastings Valley.
Scores were locked at 5-all at the break.
Zebediah Misios was also a handful for the Vikings defence.
Hastings Valley coach Andrew Briscoe admitted too many errors cruelled his side.
“We dropped the ball too many times and gave away too many penalties, that’s what it came down to,” Briscoe said.
“We didn’t have the ball at all and with those two Rory and Zeb, they’re two country rep players and they really ran riot.
“The one-two punch killed us every time.”
We didn’t have the ball at all and with those two Rory and Zeb, they’re two country rep players and they really ran riot.Andrew Briscoe
Briscoe admitted Beech and Misios were the difference.
“They were a big difference,” he said.
“They’re two really quality players. They can run, they can pass and they can defend. Without them they’re rebuilding but the other boys did well in their team too, but our boys tried their hardest.”
The coach was proud of the performance of his side after they had climbed off the bottom of the table to go on a run to the grand final.
It just wasn’t to be.
“You can’t win them all and I’m really proud of the boys; we were dead last at the start of the season,” Briscoe said.
“We lost the first two games by a fair margin and they’ve improved and improved.
You can’t win them all and I’m really proud of the boys; we were dead last at the start of the season.Andrew Briscoe
“A lot of them haven’t played rugby before, (they’ve played) a bit of league and soccer and I’m so proud of where they’ve come from there.”
Half the side will stay in the under-14 division next year, while the other half will progress to the under-16s.
“They’ll be better for it next year,” Briscoe said.
“With the 12s we know are coming up, the Vikings are going to be strong in the juniors for the next few years which is going to be good.”