On Saturday May 5, the Crookwell Green Devils Youth League travelled to Harden to play Harden-Boorowa Hawks .
Harden kicked off under lights at 6.30pm, and the Devils made an early mistake in playing the ball. Harden went on the attack, but they were repelled by a solid defence.
The Devils got the ball back but another mistake in the play the ball saw them forced to defend again. Crookwell soon regained possession of the ball and settled down to launch a sustained attack, which saw the Devils score.
A great ball from Will Stephenson put Jacob Patterson over in the corner, closely followed by a Charlie Dawson conversion, which put the Devils in the lead, 6-0.
After 20 minutes Dawson punted the ball into the Hawks in goal and Will Stephenson flashes through to score. Though the conversion was unsuccessful, the score still read 10-0 to the Devils.
Two minutes from half time a great back line spread sees Josh Patterson score in the corner. Charlie missed the conversion; 14-0 Devils.
That was all she wrote for the Devils, as far as scoring is concerned.
The second half was a torrid affair with injuries to Rhys Secomb, Sam Keel, Ambrose Owens and George Cummins.
The Devils were forced to go without reserves, and while Harden were busy scoring three second half tries (all unconverted), Crookwell tackled themselves to a standstill.
It was a gutsy effort and some players even carried on through injury.
Harden threw everything at the Devils in the second half, but solid last-gasp defence from their opponents saw them fall just short 14-12.
Crookwell’s win was a great team effort, in which nearly every man polled in the player’s player vote.
If someone was down or missed a tackle, they always had backup from their teammates.
All the forwards worked hard and didn’t shirk their jobs, and Sam Keel and Rhys Secomb played strongly until they succumbed to injuries, and Jaden Vlahogianis never stopped.
The backs were also involved in unusual heavy work, especially in the second half.
The Patterson twins and Charlie Dawson were particularly good at returning the long kicks by Harden.
All in all, a great team effort saw the Devils edge their foes in a truly classic match for the ages.