Walmsley wins first grade final with ‘golden’ bootPHOTOS

NO 1: Lachlan Walmsley’s field goal in golden point extra-time lifted the Scone Thoroughbreds into next week’s Group 21 first grade grand final against the Muswellbrook Rams. The hosts pipped the Aberdeen Tigers 31-30 at Scone Park on Sunday.A LACHLAN Walmsley field goal in “golden point” gave the Scone Throroughbreds a heart-stopping 31-30 victory over the Aberdeen Tigers at Scone Park on Sunday.

But, the side’s A-Plus Contracting Hunter Valley Group 21 final triumph came at a heavy price.

Captain-coach Daniel Ritter looks set to miss this weekend’s decider with the Muswellbrook Rams at Olympic Park after suffering an injury in the showdown.

However, even he would have been happy to see his boys overcome a brave Aberdeen outfit, which fought back from 30-12 midway through the second half, in his absence.

The Tigers snared the perfect start to the fixture with captain-coach Trent Walker crossing over in the seventh minute. Winger Matt Thompson converted for a 6-0 lead.

Then, in the twinkling of an eye, the Thoroughbreds turned the tables.

A double to fullback Hayden Topliss in the 15th and 22nd minutes, as well as two John Johnson goals, put the hosts in front 12-6.

That soon became 18-6 when hooker Jarrod Wicks dived over between the posts, and Johnson added the extras.

Thompson’s successful penalty right on the stroke of half-time meant the Tigers trailed 18-8 at the break.

Aberdeen needed to score first in the second period – and that they did, courtesy of centre Karl Shearman.

Thompson sent the attempt astray but the margin was reduced to 18-12.

Scone lifted another gear.

In the 46th minute, centre Josh Adams added his name to the tryscoring list. Johnson made no mistake with the conversion, pushing the Thoroughbreds out to 24-12.

Almost immediately, Wicks secured a well-deserved double for the afternoon. When Johnson raised the flags, Scone led 30-12 – and appeared destined for an easy win.

The Tigers had other ideas and, spurred on by a band of hearty supporters, threw everything at their opponents.

In the 60th minute, Thompson touched down in the corner after some excellent team work in the middle. His shot was waved away and the score remained 30-16 in the Thoroughbreds’ favour.

Soon after, five-eighth Leigh Mitchell put his stamp on the encounter. Again, Thompson’s kick was unsuccessful, however it was now a 10-point ball game at 30-20.

With time running out, Aberdeen continued to attack.

Second-rower Alex McMillan smashed his way through the defence to score near the uprights. Thompson piloted the ball over the black dot for a 30-26 scoreline.

Less than a minute remained on the clock when Aberdeen winger Tyler Wolfgang scored in the corner. Thompson had the opportunity to wrap up the match, but his sideline shot went agonizingly wide, leaving it all locked up at 30-all.

A mistake from the kick-off, to start extra-time, gave the Thoroughbreds possession in a very handy position. And, Walmsley coolly potted over the winning field goal – much to the delight of his team mates and home crowd.

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