Jubilation was felt across Verge St Oval after Chris Davis-Bull stepped two defenders and sprinted under the posts as the full-time siren sounded to hand Melville High School’s Under-14s a 26-24 victory over Chifley College to advance to the final four in the statewide competition.
In a highly entertaining match, Melville High School managed to snatch the victory after overcoming multiple injuries and a man in the sinbin for 10-minutes early in the second half.
Melville were the more dangerous side with the ball in their hands but they struggled to maintain possession as silly mistakes and costly penalties allowed Chifley to build pressure.
Chifley started the contest in perfect fashion as they capitalised on an overlap to score in the corner from the opening set.
However, Melville answered back with their first possession as halfback Shane Davis kicked early in the tackle count and five-eighth Davis-Bull latched onto the ball after Chifley’s fullback coughed it up and he scored in the corner.
Melville were their own worst enemy throughout the game and off the resulting kick off, Davis dropped the ball and gave Chifley the opportunity to hit back.
Chifley were able to take a 10-4 lead after their dummy-half dove over next to the posts from close range.
Chifley continued to mount pressure on Melville’s try-line but a strong tackle forced the visitors into a mistake.
From the resulting scrum feed, Melville centre Justin Kelly darted back under the opposition defence, palmed off three would-be defenders and sprinted the length of the field to score a sensational solo-try and level the scores.
The seesawing match continued as another Melville mistake gifted Chifley an opportunity and they capitalised scoring another try out wide.
The 14-10 lead didn’t last long though as Melville forward Kobbie Colquhoun barged his way over the try line from close range to lock the scores at 14 at half-time.
After the break, Melville received a penalty in the first set but they made a crucial error as they failed to find touch. The side was made to pay as Chifley eventually scored after four repeat sets on the Melville line.
The momentum was with Chifley as they were marched down the field on the back of repeat penalties and continued to pressure the Melville defence.
As a result of repeat team infringements, Melville winger Byron Williams was sent to the sinbin and off the resulting play Chifley’s halfback crossed to extend his side’s lead to 24-14 with eight minutes remaining.
The try sparked Melville into life as their passes began to stick, their forwards provided the backs with a platform on the back of strong carries and the attack clicked.
Melville cracked Chifley’s defence as Tyrell King, who was later named man of the match, used his strength close to the line to reduce the deficit to 24-20.
The hosts continued to throw everything at the Chifley defence but it held firm as the minutes dwindled away.
Melville had one final roll of the dice and on the back of a strong carry from Davis, which left the Chifley defence scattered, Davis-Bull took the next carry, bamboozled the defence and gave Melville their first lead of the match and handed them a miraculous victory.
Melville teacher and team manager David Jacobs was overwhelmed by emotion after the victory.
“I can’t believe it, it was such an amazing game and to win like that is pretty special,” Jacobs said.
“Credit to all of the players for producing such a great game of footy and an awesome victory.”
Melville’s coach Beau Russell-Docherty was glad his side was able to overcome the early adversity.
“We started off slow and we kept making mistakes and gifting them territory on the back of penalities,” Russell-Docherty said.
“Once we got that out of our game and regrouped, we were able to show our superiority.
“I knew we could win, we just had to hold onto the ball.”
Melville’s next opponent in the Buckley Shield Combined High School’s State Knockout is Kiama High School, who beat Tumut 20-10 in their last game.
Kiama will host the game with the contest to be played later this month.
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