State vs State
After yesterdays result against Queensland, the Waratahs realised that they would have to lift their game to ensure they didn't suffer an early departure from these championships.
Their second match was against the NSW 40/3's, meaning it was state again state, mate against mate. This is never an easy fxiture. Having suffered a calf injury in the first game, Adam "Ads" Hackett was ruled out of this match, while we welcomed Brad Bollard into the team after misssing our firsr match owing to an international work commitment.
As expected, the game started very evenly, with both teams enjoying their share of possession in the first quarter. Neither team showed any clear ascendancy and went into the quarter time break even. Almost immediately after the break, Brad "Rusty" Payton jumped on a loose ball from a Penalty Corner and slammed home his and the Waratahs first goal of the championships.
Enjoying a good share of possession, the Waratahs finally started to get some structure in their play although their attacks didn't result in any addition to the scoreboard before the half time break. The half was marred by Dirk "Goat" McCormack being shown a yellow card for an ugly tackle as a result of rolling his ankle after standing on his stick.
The half time chatter was positive and was obviously listened too, because 4 minutes after the break, Brad "Windows" Fennell dived on a loose ball and scrambled the ball bwteeen the keeper and the post to double the Waratahs lead, and secue his first goal for the state.
In very hot conditions, both teams started to show the effects of playing in the heat, and the quality of play dropped through the middle period of play, until the NSW 40/3's scored from a Penalty Corner in the 48th minute to bring the score back to 2-1. This gave them a huge lift in confidence, but thankfully the Waratahs were equal to the task and lifted their game.
The last 10 minutes was a scrappy affair, with both teams desperate for the win. Holding strong, the Waratahs endured the nervousness of two penalty coners awarded after the whistle to come away with their first win at these championships.
Two players were stand outs in the Players Player voting after the match, with Richard "Reggie" Lawrence earning the right to drink from the mug for the evening.
Tomorrow, the Waratahs come up against the Queensland 3's in what promises to be a very tough match, with both teams desperate for a win to catapult them into clear second and give them a leg up towards securing a spot in the Gold Medal match at the end of the championships.