The Shellharbour Sharks were too strong for Milton Ulladulla Ex Servos Bulldogs at Bill Andriski Oval on Sunday running our winners 22/12.
It was by far the Bulldogs most tenacious performance of the season leading 6/0 at halftime against second placed Shellharbour who have recorded only one loss for the year.
After heavy rain the soggy conditions did not really suit either side who like to throw the ball around to create opportunities.
Early in play Milton kicked into the Shellharbor in goal and forced an error by the fullback Goodwin. Even at that point Milton looked a differnent to what they were at their last outing.
After six minutes Milton Ulladulla forced another error with Manukonga knocking on.
Milton Ulladulla with the scrum win had the run of play and the Shellharbour forwards were penalised for lifting Moore in a tackle.
Milton were getting on top and it was Moore playing in the second row who scored the opening try with Luke Young missing the shot. Milton 4/0.
Milton fullback Tom Cooke was over the try line when he knocked on after strong defence from the Shellharbour pack. Shellharbour received a penalty after a play the ball interference by Milton player Nick Goodman.
Shellharbour made it over halfway again through the efforts of Schuster, Manukonga and Stapleton.
In the 32 minute Milton half back Tooth was sent off after making a lifting tackle on an opponent.
Immediately after, Sommerville and Cook made long runs into Shellharbour territory however the Milton Ulladulla defence held and Stapleton was penalised for holding Young down in a tackle .
Young kicked the penalty goal to give Milton Ulladulla a half time lead of 6/0
Shellharbour second rower Dane Sablowski in the 50th minute got Shellharbour into the game with a try wide out. Goodwin missed the kick. Goodwin along with Stapleton have a wealth of NRL experience between them.
Luke Young lifted again and made a long run into Shellharbour territory.
On a fifth play Young made a high kick into the Shellharbour in goal for Mitch Simmington to leap into the air and gain the ball for a 4 pointer.
Luke Young converted and Milton extended its lead to 12/4.
Shellharbour were well in the game at this stage with errors not allowing them to complete their sets of 6. Determined defense not seen by the Milton pack for several weeks was eye catching.
In the 58th minute Milton captain Gary Warburton who was by far Milton's best forward, was penalised after an indiscretion in the play the ball.
A long raking kick turned Milton around and nippy work by Hans Schuster and Brad Chapman saw Justin Rodriguez cross in a handy position for Bronx Goodwin to convert with Milton holding onto a 12/10 lead.
The Milton crowd rose to their feet when centre Freeman was put in the clear by Warburton and made a 50 metre dash to cross the try line in the scoreboard corner.
The try was disallowed and play called back.
The ruling on the try appeared to be on an opinion given by the Touch Judge and but the result did not demoralise the Dogs. The Sharks were well on their way back to halfway for the kick – off when the ruling was made in their favour.
Milton were under pressure and needed to score again to stay on top but it was Shellharbour who rallied and through Leabeater and Docker made some good gains and it was Brad Chapman their lock forward who managed to make his way over the line for Bronx Goodwin to convert .
This was the turning point in the game after 69 minutes of play and give the visitors the lead for the first time.
With Tooth off the field and playing with only 12 men was catching up with the locals and after some sterling efforts from Goodman, Moore and Warburton play was still see sawing from one end to the other.
I an exciting finish it was in the 70th minute that Leabeater made a clean break with Goodwin backing up and claiming the try which he converted.
With 10 minutes remaining in the game the loyal and faithful were hoping that the locals would engineer two converted tries to claim victory.
Shellharbour dominated the dying minutes running out winners 22/12.
Best for the victors were Goodwin, Leabeater and Dormer and for Milton Young, Warburton and Moore were strong.
The Dogs were far from disgraced and will be confident going in against Nowra Bomaderry Jets at Bomaderry Sports Complex on Sunday.
The Jets will be coming off a 36/14 defeat by Berry and the game commencing at 2.45 promises to be a beauty.
Shellharbour Sharks 22 (Tries Bronx Goodwin, Justin Rodriguez, Sablowski and Brad Chapman I each and Bronx Goodwin 3 Goals)
Milton Ulladulla 12 (Tries Simmington and Moore 1 each and Luke Young 2 Goals)
The Reserve Grade up against unbeaten leaders Shellharbour put in a sterling effort.
As a Mark of respect the players wore black arm bands for the late Mark Galton who was an ardent supporter good mate of many of the players.
As was to be seen in the First Grade fixture an vast improvement in commitment and team work was evident.
After the game coach Owen Dredge said he was pleased with the improvement.
Big Shellharbour prop Jamiee Carney barged over after 13 minutes with Pat Moulton converting.
Soon after some good work by the Milton pack saw diminutive full back run 40 metres with Piekar backing up and Hampton – Olive combining.
In the 20th minute Carney was found off side and the penalty put Milton into a good position. A second penalty and more pressure from the Milton forwards saw their 5/8 Josh Pender kick through and regather. In typical wet weather style Pender ran the length of the field almost to score in a handy position.
Will Ray converted to even the score at 6 all at half time.
The second half was equally a dire struggle with the Bulldogs not taking a backward step against their more fancied opponents.
In the 48th minute Whitford kicked for Piekar and a try was disallowed.
Even 2 minutes later the another ruling led to a no try.
In the 53rd minute Shellharbour who were finally able to breach the Milton defence saw former first grader Jaydon Butler go in for Pat Moulton to convert and give the visitors the lead at half time.
Soon after Shellharbour looked dangerous and the ever present Pender knocked the final pass down.
In the 65th minute Milton were penalised in the ruck and Moulton kicked a penalty goal from in front. At 14/6 Milton were still in the game.
On fulltime Shellharbour's prop went on for his second try for Moulton to convert and make the final score 20/6.
This was by far the Bulldogs best effort for the year and they showed that they can continue to improve.
Best for Milton were Pender, Ray and Piekar and for Shellharbour Carney , Moulton and McKinley were best.
The Bulldogs will be up against Nowra Bomaderry this weekend who will be coming off a 34/14 victory over Berry.
Milton appeared to be injury free at the end of the game and have proven that they can match it with the leaders losing three tries to one against the leaders.
Shellharbour 20 (Jayden Butler Try Jamie Carney 2 and Pat Moulton 4 goals)
Milton Ulladulla 6 (Josh Pender Try and Will Ray goal)
Milton Ulladulla relinquished fifth place on the ladder after defeat be sixth placed Shellharbour on Sunday.
Shellharbour have had several rep. players returning and their form has been improving.
Milton werer uncomitted in the first half and were down 26/0 at halftime with the game out of reach
Even after five minutes fo the second half Mitoln conceded another try.
It was in the 53rd minute that one of Milton's triers, Tyler Clark crossed for the reliable Nathan Brown to convert at 38/6.
Nearing the end of the game and after a more committed from the team as a whole River Roberts scored a well-earned try for Brown to convert and with time running out Louis Beddingfield scored an unconverted try.
Shellharbour had some standouts in the Field brothers Kurt and Jay, Rosewarn brothers Jake and Guy and Josh Brisbane.
For Milton, Roberts, Longbottom Grundy were consistent.
There will be no competition matches for Under 18s this coming weekend due to the CRL of NSW Championships at Figtree
Milton will next meet Kiama on Saturday 14th June ay Mollymook Oval. Kiama are also threatening to enter the top 5. Kiama will be coming off a 36/12 loss to Shellharbour Stingrays.
Womens League Tag
Milton Ulladulla far outplayed their Shellharbour opponents.
With the surface still fairly firm underfoot the WLT team soon settled into their free flowing style of play based on speed, precision ball handling and organised defence.
Without Amy Austin and several player Milton fielded the basic compliment with no bench players. This did not pose a problem at all.
Building on Renee Byrne's ball distribution the girls rattled up 68 points against their opponents who were completely outclassed.
Ebony Murray the daughter of Jack Murray and granddaughter of Bede Murray both former players, was again the standout for Milton Ulladulla.
Ebony missed only 2 conversion attempts out of 12 and with 3 tries amassed 32 points for the day.
Cheyanne Hatch scored 3, Taryn Love and Jessica Little two each and Paige Hwgyi and Jaylee Love a try each with the final score 68/0.
The phenomenal performances of Ebony Murray have seen her take the lead in the competition from Kirsty Church of Kiama in points scored with 90.
Amy Austen of Milton Ulladulla still holds the lead in tries scored with 12.
On Sunday Nowra Bomaderry will be coming off a 12 all draw with Bomaderry.
This game will be played at Bomaderry Sports Complex commencing at 12.05pm.
Presidents comment by Bert Powell
What a Sunday.
The weather was far from kind but the football was great.
I must firstly thank the supporters who never fail to be on hand and give our teams their all.
It was a day when we could all have enjoyed the day at home.
Again the volunteers where there and provided what was needed.
All teams gave their all, and again the Women's League Tag Team showed their class with a great win.
Under 18s were not disgraced, and after a bad first half showed their true form in the latter. Coach Paul Love has them going well, and it won't be long before they really come into their own.
The Reserve Grade showed that they are not a team to be denied, and it won't be long before they string a few together.
What can I say about the First Grade team.
This team showed how much class they have. Sadly the result came down to one decision. They played for each other, and were there to the end.
Yes. We lost, but this result could have gone either way.
Don't forget our next event at the Milton Ulladulla ExServos Club.
Cath has the 100 Club draw well in hand, and this event will be held on Friday, June 20, commencing 6pm.
Another great night on our calendar is Friday, July 18, - this is our Sponsors, Supporters and Players night at the Milton Ulladulla ExServos Club.
We have a great night planned, and a home grown hero will be guest speaker.
There will be other surprises on the night, so contact Bert Powell on 0418 627 396 to assure a booking.
Last week this event was advertised as August 1, but please change that date as now advised.
Next Sunday we travel to Bomaderry with the first game at 12.05, and then Saturday, June 14, we play Kiama Knights at Bill Andriske Oval in all Grades plus WLT.
First game at 10.35am. Come along for a great day.