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GROUP 21: Colts, Devils to fight it out for grand final berth

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The Greta Branxton Colts and Denman Devils will fight it out this weekend for the right to contest the 2022 Bengalla Hunter Valley Group 21 Rugby League decider.

And, awaiting the victor is the Scone Thoroughbreds.

The Colts, back in the top grade after a lengthy absence, stunned the Muswellbrook Rams in the elimination showdown at Olympic Park last Saturday night.

The hosts enjoyed a two-point advantage at the break but eventually succumbed to a gutsy Greta Branxton 28-24, much to the delight of the club’s supporters.

While that fixture went down to the wire, the same couldn’t be said for the major semi-final.

Minor premiers Scone flexed its collective muscle to hand Denman a lesson to the tune of 68-6.

Incredibly, the encounter finished with five minutes remaining, due to “mercy rule” provisions.

The Thoroughbreds struck early with Hayden Topliss crossing out wide.

Almost immediately, he repeated the dose to give Scone an 8-0 lead.

Devils duo Bailey Taylor and Jacob Ellis then combined in a nice exchange, enabling the latter to score. Taylor added the extras to narrow the gap to 8-6.

But, that’s as close as Denman got to its rivals.

The Thoroughbreds put on another 24 unanswered points to hit the sheds in front, 32-6, despite the sin-binning of captain-coach Adam Clydsdale.

Tries were awarded to Topliss, his third of the afternoon; Blake Bridge, who bagged a double; and Tom Eveleigh, while Jack Pennell landed four conversions.

Scone maintained that momentum in the second period, too.

Caleb Taylor, Joel Harrison (two), James Barker, Jared Austin and Bridge (another two for a tally of four) also added their names to the tryscoring list.

Pennell capped a great day with the boot, piloting another four goals through the uprights.

As a result, the Colts and Devils now meet in the preliminary final at Denman Oval on Sunday 28 August.

The winner faces the Thoroughbreds at Scone Park on Sunday 4 September.

Bengalla Hunter Valley Group 21 Rugby League

2022 play-offs

Minor semi-final

Saturday 20 August at Olympic Park, Muswellbrook

  • Under-18s (Hunter Valley Combined): South Newcastle Lions d Western Suburbs Rosellas 20-16
  • Monarch blues tag: Singleton Greyhounds d Aberdeen Tigers 16-0
  • Reserve grade: Merriwa Magpies d Greta Branxton Colts 38-0
  • First grade: Greta Branxton Colts d Muswellbrook Rams 28-24

Major semi-final

Sunday 21 August at Scone Park

  • Under-18s (Hunter Valley Combined): Aberdeen Tigers d Scone Thoroughbreds 24-0
  • Monarch blues tag: Scone Thoroughbreds d Merriwa Magpies 36-16
  • Reserve grade: Scone Thoroughbreds d Aberdeen Tigers 16-10
  • First grade: Scone Thoroughbreds d Denman Devils 68-6

Preliminary final draw

Sunday 28 August at Denman Oval

  • 10am: Monarch blues tag – Merriwa Magpies v Singleton Greyhounds
  • 11.10am: Under-18s (Hunter Valley combined) – Scone Thoroughbreds v South Newcastle Lions
  • 12.30pm: Reserve grade – Aberdeen Tigers v Merriwa Magpies
  • 2.10pm: First grade – Denman Devils v Greta Branxton Colts

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