AFTER winning the pre-season competition, the Wingham Tigers began the Group Three Rugby League competition playing against the Port Macquarie Sharks at the Wingham Sporting Complex on Saturday afternoon.
After just two minutes, the Tigers were ahead 4-0 after a Tim Bridge try in the scoreboard corner.
Ten minutes later, Tim Bridge crossed out wide again, and ran around under the posts. Brother Matt Bridge added the extra points for a 10-0 advantage.
The Sharks hit back with a try midway through the half to trail 10-4.
Five minutes later, Wingham were denied a try from a set move when the referee ruled obstruction.
Then Tim Bridge made it a hat-trick of tries, with another under the posts. Luke Steel added the extra points.
Just before the break, a long pass saw Blake Sky score in the corner, but the touch judge ruled the pass forward.
Taking a 16-4 lead into the second half, Wingham needed to start well. They did this in the second minute with a try in the corner to Blake Sky.
At the 10 minute mark, Adam Kerr scooted over from dummy half. With Luke Steel's kick, the Tigers led 26-4.
Port Macquarie increased the tempo and scored midway through the stanza to reduce the deficit to 26-10.
Minutes later, Tim Bridge ran 80 metres to score under the posts. With the conversion, the Tigers led 32-10.
Five minutes later, the Sharks were in again with a converted try.
With 10 minutes remaining, Tim Watson scored. Luke Steel added the extra points to lead 38-16.
The visitors never gave up and retaliated with a converted try in the corner.
In the final minutes, Tepuhi Rudolph put the icing on the cake with a try from a Tim Watson break. Luke Steel's kick made the final score 44-22.
(Tim Bridge 4, Blake Sky, Adam Kerr, Tim Watson, Tepuhi Rudolph tries, Luke Steel 5, Matt Bridge goals).
The news wasn't so good for the other grades.
The reserve grade game was punctuated by mistakes from both teams.
Wingham led 6-0 at half time with a try by Brad Sowter, converted by Garyn Burnes.
The home team went to sleep in the second half, and let in four unanswered tries to trail 22-6 with a quarter of an hour remaining.
The Alex Studdert scored in the corner, followed by a try by Russell Babekuhl, converted by Garyn Burnes.
But time ran out, and Port Macquarie were victorious by 22-16.
(Brad Sowter, Alex Studdert, Russell Babekuhl tries, Garyn Burnes two goals).
The Under 18s began well with a try to Blake Fraser, converted by Fletcher Lewis in the opening minutes.
But Port Macquarie scored three tries to lead 14-6 at the break.
Two more tries by the Sharks midway through the second half gave the visitors a 26-6 lead.
Ben Gallagher then broke through from a scrum win to score under the posts. Fletcher Lewis added the extra points.
Port Macquarie scored in the corner to increase their advantage to 32-12.
A final minute try to Fletcher Lewis in the corner made the final score 32-16.
(Blake Fraser, Ben Gallagher, Fletcher Lewis tries, Fletcher Lewis two goals).
League Tag returns in 2014 for the Wingham Tigers, although the girls had to play one short for the entire game.
Rhiannon Fuller was Wingham's only scorer, with a converted try before half time.
After trailing 18-6 at the break, the Tigers went down 30-6.
(Rhiannon Fuller try, Rhiannon Fuller goal).
Next Saturday, May 3, the Tigers travel to Wauchope to play last year's undefeated premiers. First grade kicks off at 3pm.