Parkes defeat Mudgee by just 3 points in Saturday's grand final

PREMIERSHIP HEROES: The Parkes Boars first grade side were ecstatic to come home from Mudgee with some silverware. Photo: Allan Ryan.

PREMIERSHIP HEROES: The Parkes Boars first grade side were ecstatic to come home from Mudgee with some silverware. Photo: Allan Ryan.

The Parkes Boars first grade side are the winners of the New Holland Cup for 2020 after a nail-biting three point win over the Mudgee Wombats on Saturday evening.

A sizeable contingent of supporters travelled to Mudgee to support their local side, and they were rewarded with a spirited, gritty performance worthy of a Premiership winning side.

Fly-half Luke Bevan was judged best afield for the Boars, and the 'Welsh Wizard' proved yet again that he is on another level to everyone else in the New Holland Cup; with his pinpoint kicking, elusive running and mature game management.

EAT MY DUST: Luke Bevan leaves Mudgee skipper David Jessiman in his wake. Bevan's play at fly-half was crucial to the Boars in their win and he looked a class above the Wombats defence. Photo: Allan Ryan.

EAT MY DUST: Luke Bevan leaves Mudgee skipper David Jessiman in his wake. Bevan's play at fly-half was crucial to the Boars in their win and he looked a class above the Wombats defence. Photo: Allan Ryan.

The game got off to a great start for the Boars, forcing a mistake from the kick-off but from there the Wombats forwards dominated the opening exchanges.

Successful penalty goals from each side had the score locked at 3-all, and the Wombats finally went over 13 minutes into the match after the forward pack generated four scrums in a row just five metres out from the line.

It took just four minutes for the Wombats scrum to roll over again after numerous scrum infringements were blown, taking the score to 15-3 after just 16 minutes.

Two minutes later the Boars returned serve, marching quickly down the field before the dangerous back line finally saw some space with Bevan weaving his way over the line and converting his own try.

Mudgee caught the Parkes back three out of position on a few occasions, and after fullback Jake Dooley dropped two bombs the experienced Joe Nash was moved back with immediate effect.

The veteran scored out wide after a number of line breaks and offloads caught the Wombats defence off guard; highlighting how dangerous the Boars back line is when giving a sniff of space.

Despite a referee keen to blow the whistle at every opportunity, the game was an intriguingly high scoring spectacle, with the half time score finishing at 18-15 in favour of Mudgee.

It was immediately obvious the half time break renewed the steel of both sides, and the match turned into an utterly absorbing arm wrestle; with the Boars forwards starting to halt the momentum of the Wombats scrum.

When centre Curtis Davies was showed a yellow card with 30 minutes left for a flying high shot, one sensed it could be a pivotal moment in the match but somehow Parkes managed to generate a few turnovers and keep Mudgee at bay.

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Captain/coach Josh Miles told the Parkes Champion Post pregame that given how even both sides matched up across the park, the match would likely come down to whoever could win the crucial moment.

That moment came with 12 minutes to go on the game clock, with the scores tied up at 18 points apiece and the ball mostly camped in Mudgee's attacking half.

A massive kick for touch from Bevan was followed by some fantastic open phase rugby, and speed was too much for Mudgee, who conceded a penalty right in front of the sticks.

Bevan duly converted the penalty, giving Parkes a 21-18 lead, which would prove to be the winning score.

Parkes collapsed the Mudgee scrum three times in a row just before the final whistle blew, which led to an eruption of cheers after the crowd had collectively been holding their breath for 10 minutes.

Bevan, Nash, Miles and Dan Ryan were the key players for Parkes in the win; with their experience vital for the side as it fought back from behind.

Parkes Boars 21 (Luke Bevan, Joe Nash tries; Luke Bevan 4 goals) defeated Mudgee Wombats 18 (David Jessiman, Lachie Morse tries; Brian O'Reilly 3 goals) at Glen Willow Sporting Complex, Mudgee.