Parkes Spacemen coach Brent Wood remains an optimistic mentor despite a 31-24 third round loss to the unbeaten Nyngan Tigers on Jock Colley Field on Sunday.
Wood lamented the Spacemen second half effort when the side completed only two sets to allow the eager visitors territory and field dominance which saw them get home by five tries to four after a real arm wrestle.
Wood said after the loss that to get so close after such a disappointing effort in terms of discipline and ball control suggested his side remained well in the Group 11 premiership hunt.
In fact Parkes dominated from the outset, two converted tries in the opening seven minutes providing an unlikely but deserved early platform.
But the Spacemen conceded that early momentum after a string of errors to allow the Tigers back into contention.
A superb 60 metre solo effort to Nyngan skipper Justin Carney ignited the comeback in the 21st minute and tries to Merritt and Edwards lifted the Tigers to an 18-12 advantage at the half time break.
To their credit the Spacemen lifted when play resumed and a brilliant Benjamin John cut out pass put winger Smede over to level the scores and put the Spacemen right back in the match on 44 minutes.
On the back of several penalties, ill discipline and an alarming inability to control the ball from restarts, the Spacemen struggled to contain the rampaging Tigers.
Again converted tries pushed the margin to 12 points in favour of the Tigers before John dived over 15 minutes from time to reduce the margin to six.
In the run to the judge Parkes again compounded the situation with unforced errors and it was no surprise when Merritt landed a neat field goal from close range to stretch the margin to seven points to secure a deserved win for the journeymen.
The first grade win completed an indifferent day for the Spacemen after a depleted reserve grade side was well beaten 34 to 6.
The juniors trailed 10 nil early but regrouped to get home 28 to 24 against the winless Tigers and the brilliant league tag girls won 52 nil to enhance their record of not conceding a solitary point after three matches this season.
Another important aspect of the day, enjoyed by a wholesome Mother's Day audience, was a moments silence prior to first grade kick off for the late Shane Williams, a member of the Williams family who have enjoyed over a half century involvement with rugby league in Parkes.
Nyngan Tigers 31(Justin Carney 2, Jaz Merritt, Darryl Cubby, Clinton Edwards tries, Cubby 5 goals, Merritt field goal) defeated Parkes Spacemen 24 (Ben Davis, Jacob Smede, Benjamin John, Jordan Pope tries, Chad Porter 4 goals).
Next Sunday, round 4, Parkes takes on Narromine on Jock Colley Field.