VETERANS Luke Steel and Brenden Summerfield steered Wingham to an upset 38-20 win over Old Bar in the Group Three Rugby League reserve grade minor semi-final at Tuncurry.
The Tigers will now meet Port Macquarie in Sunday’s minor semi at Old Bar after minor premiers Wauchope downed the Sharks 24-10 in the major semi.
Two players were sent off by Barry Murray in separate incidents. Wingham centre Ryan McIntosh went 23 minutes into the first half while Old Bar fullback Daniel Morris was dismissed midway through the second half.
However, it was a solid performance by the Tigers. Steel, playing halfback, steered the side around the park while Summerfield in the front row ran hard and often.
Old Bar also paid the price for some defensive lapses gifted Wingham some soft tries.
Adam Kerr at hooker scored two tries for Wingham in a busy effort.
But things looked grim for the Tigers when McIntosh was sent. The scores were 0-0 at the time, however, within six tackles Old Bar hooker Mick Earley, playing his 200th game, pushed his way over and a goal to Ben Witchard gave Old Bar a 6-0 lead. Perhaps the Pirates thought they were in for an easy day from there.
But being down a player seemed to lift the Tigers and Steel sent a nice pass to Summerfield to open their account.
Steel’s goal locked up the scores. Kerr ran through some lazy defence to give Wingham a 12-6 lead with Steel’s conversion but the Pirates hit back when winger Daniel Thope scored in the corner. A pass from Willy Yates positioned winger Tyler Atkins and he scooted over for Steel to land the conversion from the sideline and give Wingham an 18-10 lead at the break.
The Tigers went further in front when Steel chipped and regathered so sent Shaun Chapman on his way before Morris showed pace to run down a kick from five-eighth Cory Wheeler from a scrum win and the goal to Witchard reduced the margin to 22-16.
But Wingham took charge after Morris was hunted when Yates crashed over.
There was some hope for the Pirates with a try to Joel Campbell to bring them within six at 26-20 but Kerr found his way through tackles to virtually seal the deal with a try that was converted by Steel.
Old Bar weren’t coming back from there. Wayne Holstein added a late try to round off the scoring.