Longest game in league history

A crowdof about 3000 attended Scone Park on Sunday and were witness to what has been called one of the greatest games in Country Rugby League.
Nanjing Night Net

Player of the match Ally Luck screams down field with the ball in Scone Ladies League Tag’s grand final victory over Muswellbrook on Sunday. Photo courtesy Hayley Pennell

The Scone First Grade went down to Denman 24 to 20 after some 48 minutes of extra time, which becomes the longest game of rugby league in history.

Denman, playing their third grand final in as many years, scored the winning try some 128 playing minutes of time after the whistle blew to get the game under way.

The two teams were understandably exhausted with many players suffering cramps and needing attention during the final stages of the marathon match.

Scone had an early opportunity to get first points on the board, but a forward pass to Joel Harrison was ruled as he was in clear space to the line.

Denman provided some slick passing near the Scone line at the 13 minute mark for Isaac McCormack to cross the line for a converted try.

Again Scone had an opportunity to score shortly after, but a dropped ball pulled them up short.

A penalty to Denman extended the lead to eight, however it was Scone who responded with two quick tries to the Watson brothers – firstly Josh then Tim.

Jarrod Wicks converted one for Scone to take the lead at half time 10 to 8.

Denman were first to score in the second half when halfback and player of the match, Gary McKeon crossed.

Hassleman’s conversion improved the score to 14 to 10.

Once again it was McKeon who placed a well weighted kick for Jackson Ball to score following a very good catch and grounding effort increasing the lead to 20 to 10.

Scone’s Tom Hagan was placed in the bin for 10, however this seemed to lift the team and Tim Smith was able to cross during the period.

With only minutes to go, captain coach Daniel Ritter forced his way near the posts for an easy Wicks conversion, locking the scores up at 20 all.

The first period of golden point yielded no result, so the remainder of the match would have no time limit – pending scoring of any points.

What followed has created history with a total 48 minutes needed for the winning point (try to Denman’s Hamish Wolfgang) to be recorded.

An exhausted Ritter was obviously very disappointed, but praised his players for their effort and commitment.

“Both teams had opportunities to win that one and unfortunately we just couldn’t manage it.

“I amvery proud of my team and couldn’t have asked for any more from them.”

Scone Reserve Grade were looking to record their second premiership in two years, however it was not to be, going down to a very strong Singleton outfit, 30 to 14.

The major semi final performance couldn’t be matched in the big one and Singleton were very strong from the first whistle.

They were able to dominate the majority of the game leading at half time 20 nil.

A second half rally left the Scone supporters with a glimmer of hope when three quick tries to Ethan Haggerty, Dale Robinson and Scott Lyne reduced the margin to 24 to 14, however a long distance try to Singleton placed the result beyond doubt.

Coach Chris Brennan was understandably disappointed, but quick to thank his players.

“We have had a number of injuries during the year, which we have had to overcome and to reach the grand final was in itself a real achievement by our squad,” he said.

“We had a mixture of young players and experienced ones and overall it has been successful for us notwithstanding today’s result.”

The Ladies League Tag went into their game as hot favourites following their undefeated status leading into the grand final.

The final result of a victory by 14 to 2 was a lot closer than many pundits expected.

Muswellbrook showed they were not going to be easy beats early in the match and put on a tremendous defensive effort, allowing the Scone team only one try to Charmaine Bloomfield in the first half.

A successful penalty attempt early in the second half reduced the margin to two, however tries to player of the match Ally Luck and the Group 21 player of the Year Maddy Adams who converted one, pushed the score out to 14 to 2.

Captain Coach Sofie Casson was thrilled with the grand final win which is her second in the position with the club.

“That was another awesome effort by our girls who were under plenty of pressure from Muswellbrook throughout the game,” Casson said.

“We have a large squad and they will all celebrate the win today as they have all made important contributions on and off the field.

“Once again our defence was rock solid and we were able to capitalise on the few chances that we were given.”

A proud Scone Rugby League Club president Scott Pennell expressed his sincere appreciation to the numerous volunteers whose contribution was critical to the success of the day.

“There was a lot of planning needed to cater for and manage the crowd today and we are very pleased with the positive feedback from the Group 21 executive,” he said.

“We are so fortunate to be able to rely on our volunteers who have worked long hours, and many of which saw little of the games being played.

“The Scone Thoroughbreds can be very proud of the teams’ efforts on the fields and our supporter’s efforts off the field, including many players who assist whenever asked.

“We look forward to 2016 being another successful year.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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