Gaolers lock down Cannons

END of season Macleay pride rests with the South West Rocks Gaolers, after they prevailed in the derby clash at Crescent Head on Saturday.

They defeated the Kempsey Cannonballs by a 21-point margin, to avenge defeats earlier this season against their nearest rivals.

Gaolers breakaway Matt Scott opened the scoring early in the match, crossing the line for the first of a trio of tries.

The Cannons ought to have made the most of the conditions, playing with the breeze behind their backs,and Tom Hiramatsu did breach a resolute defence to add a try of his own, but the visitors worked hard to stifle the playmaker's threat and went into the break further ahead.

Glen Cook, Isaac Mainey and Paul Owen added their names to the try-scorers' list for the Gaolers, with kicker Michael Judd converting five from six to take their final tally to 40 points.

The hosts scored three tries, two of which were converted, to leave the Cannonballs on 19 points at the hooter.

It was sweet revenge for the Gaolers, who snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the last meeting between the sides - they fell by one point at the death on that occasion.

Captain/coach Jamie Tough said putting pressure on Hiramatsu had enabled his side to captialise, in spite of having to run into the wind in the first half.

"We played with two reserves and a couple of minor injuries," he said.

"It was good to get a convincing win and if the game had gone on longer, the margin would've been even bigger, the way we were playing.

"There's a lot of talk about who's the fastest in the competition, and arguably our own Isaac Mainey could be the fastest.

"I'm really happy with how all the boys played on Saturday."

Tough wished the Cannonballs well for the remainder of the campaign.

Cannons fullback Jarrod Lipscombe said his team had been outmuscled by a strong defence.

"The Gaolers were strong right across the park," he said.

"Our forwards played well and kept the ball in close, playing off the ruck.

"We played our cup final last weekend and the Gaolers played theirs against us on Saturday."

Scott was players' player for the visitors, with Michael Patterson taking three points, Cook two, and Mainey one.

The Cannonballs' top players were forwards Alex Newmarch (three points), Todd Giddy (two) and Brad Booth (one).

Next up for the Gaolers are two remaining home games, against Port Pirates this weekend and Southern Cross University the following weekend.

Tough is hoping for big crowds and good support at both.

The Cannons will face the Hastings Valley Vikings in their home fixture against the other Port Macquarie side on Saturday.

The home club bagged the honours in both the other derby clashes, with the under-18s set to claim the minor championship and the reserve grade guaranteed a semi-final spot if they win this weekend.

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