THE Bega Roosters have surrendered top spot on the Group 16 rugby league ladder, following a narrow 20-16 loss to the Narooma Devils at the Bega Recreation Ground on Sunday.
A fast-finishing Bega outfit were unable to overcome with a physical Narooma forward pack and several handling errors proving their downfall.
Devils’ captain-coach Todd Ayres led his side by example, nabbing a first-half try to put the visitors up 10-0 after Pat Willis had earlier opened the scoring down the Roosters’ right side defence.
Bega hit back with halftime approaching, courtesy of a Marty Thomas solo effort.
Thomas received the ball from a scrum win and stepped his way through the defensive line, racing 30 metres to open the Roosters’ account and narrow the deficit to 10-6 at the break.
Narooma extended the advantage shortly after the resumption however, with two quickfire tries putting them out beyond two converted tries at 20-6.
The Roosters weren’t about to lie down though, and Grant Jessop combined with Ryan Apps to send the latter over under the posts.
The club’s captain-coach then nabbed his second four-pointer with time running out to bring his side within a try.
A tense finish saw Cael Kelly cross for what looked like the equalising try for Bega, only to have it disallowed for a forward pass, handing victory to Narooma.
The Roosters slide down to second as a result of the loss, with defending premiers the Moruya Sharks taking over at the summit after a 76-0 thrashing of bottom-placed Tathra.
Club president Garry Arkin said the Roosters’ best were Jarrod Tamatea, Apps and Blake Robinson.
The club completed a clean sweep of the lower-grade competitions, headlined by a 46-point triumph in the reserves.
A first-half avalanche laid the platform for the hosts, who led 38-6 at halftime, before running out 58-12 victors/
Arkin said a solid team effort was the catalyst, praising Chris Halligan and Luke Hoskins for leading the way, while also singling out fullback John Parbery for plaudits.
A Kezie Apps hat-trick and a great all-round game from Hayley Jessop were the highlights of the league-tag match which saw the Bega Chicks put in a strong second half showing to overcome a defiant Narooma She Devils line-up.
Tegan Mundy crossed for her 20th try of the season, while Taeler-Rae Williams and Bronte Burhop were in the thick of the action as the Chicks ran out 36-2 winners,
The Roosters’ under 18s also found themselves in the winners’ circle, after they overcame the Moruya Sharks 46-16 in a rousing display, which saw the young Roosters spreading the ball at every opportunity to give their speed men plenty of space to burn.
Arkin said Bega had some strong contributors, with Jye Britten, Braiden Mcintosh and Zac Ingram the standouts.
The club has byes across the board this weekend, with a gala trivia night being staged on Saturday to raise funds for the burnt-out canteen at the Bega Country Club.
Tickets are $10 per head, with 10 people to a table and 16 tables available.
Auction prizes include $500 in goods from Betta Electrical, $300 from Reece Plumbing and a host of rugby league wear products.
The bistro is open from 6pm-8.30pm, with all welcome to attend.
Contact Elders on 6492 1799 to book your table.