Tumut and Young battled it out at Alfred Oval on Sunday, with the Blues getting the better of the previously unbeaten Cherrypickers 30-18 in hot and trying conditions in round four of the Group 9 competition.
Tumut started strongly, rolling over the advantage line and putting Young under a lot of pressure.
Jordy Anderson took advantage of the good start and reminded spectators why is considered one of the best playmakers in the competition, booting a massive 40/20 which led to Tumut’s first try.
Following the scrum, Zac Masters had the ball in hand and ran through four Young defenders to score on the right edge. Jacob Toppin converted for a six-nil lead after only 10 minutes.
After points, the Blues could have scored again, but dropped the ball in an attacking position,
Mitch Ivill went down shortly after, suffering what looked to be a nicely broken nose, but the tough fullback played on, despite receiving repeated attention to the head.
Young did have a chance to level the scores, when shifting the ball left, but Tevita Aroha-Tuinauvai had other plans, when laying out Tom Bush in a terrific tackle that saved a certain four-pointer.
Jordy Anderson was again in the thick of things, and this time a big kick to Jake Veney was knocked on, and Tumut capitalised.
Again, it was Masters, who scored his second when making mincemeat of the Young defence. Toppin converted and Tumut led 12-nil after 19 minutes.
Straight after the try, the Cherrypickers mistakenly kicked off to Masters, who was full of adrenalin after scoring his second try and he subsequently steamrolled Jesse Corcoran – the hooker was knocked out before he hit the ground and was left seeing stars as he was escorted from the field.
The Blues fell away after points, making mistakes and offering up back-to-back penalties, which proved too much for Tumut as they watched on as Nick Cornish carved up Tumut’s left edge when scored a try. Matthew Murray converted and the score was back to 12-6 after half an hour of play
The Blues took advantage of a Young penalty straight after points and were camped on the Cherrypickers line, and an old school mouse trap play paid dividends when Aroha-Tuinauvai barged over for a try. Toppin converted and it was 18-6 after 35 minutes.
Blues were clamping on the pressure in the final stages of the first half and it paid off on the stroke of half time, with the Blues swinging the ball left before finding Ivill, who switched on the afterburners to beat Nick Hall and score a good try on the left edge.
Toppin missed the conversion and Tumut led 22-6 at the break.
Tumut could have taken the game away from Young in the early stages of the second half, but were unable to turn possession into points.
At one stage, Masters looked to be over for a third try, but a forward pass call gave Young the ball, and the home side made the Blues pay straight away.
After moving the ball up field with ease and receiving a penalty, Young were on the attack and Mitch Cornish took the ball to the line to score a soft try to the left of the sticks. Matthew Murray converted and the score was 22-12 after 52 minutes.
Mitch Ivill was finally forced from the field, and Tom Hickson moved to fullback, while Josh Webb came on.
The Blues were on the back foot after points, and after a strong set of six from Young, a left side saw Aborosio Navori in space on the left edge before he offloaded to Jahnayah Freeman, who found the line. Matthew Murray converted from the sideline and Tumut only led 22-18 after an hour of play.
Following points, Tumut lifted and were buoyed by the likes of Matthew Byatt and Lewis Arragon who added energy to Tumut’s forward pack.
The Blues bombed multiple attacking opportunities until the 66th minute when Byatt got the ball from close range and scored. Toppin converted from close to in front and the Blues led 28-18 with 12 minutes left on the clock.
Young had a chance late in the game, with Freeman sprinting clear on the left edge, but the Blues rallied and stopped the attacking play.
Tumut slowed the game down in the final 10 minutes, and played for the win, with a Toppin penalty conversion with only minutes left on the clock sealing a Blues 30-18 victory over Young.