Eden Tigers Brand Sun

Roosters Lower Tigers' Colours
Eden 14 Bega 16

July 3rd 2011 by Dave Evelyn

The Great Southern Inn sponsored Eden Tigers, reigning Group 16 premiers, have suffered their first defeat in about a year at the hands of the resurgent Bega Roosters last Saturday night in Bega.

The Tigers were without a number of experienced players but at the end of the day Bega played a controlled brand of football to stymie the premiers. The match started controversially with Bega's tactics being very obvious- to smash and intimidate the smaller Eden side, continually turning the ball inside to their rampaging forwards. The tactic was overplayed, as evidenced by two Bega players being sin binned in the first 10 minutes before their captain Coach was sent off. Early penalties went to Eden 4-1. The game began to even up as Bega got back to 12 players. Eden was having difficulty completing their sets between dropped ball and penalties to the opposition, but when inspirational hooker Scott Jackson scored Eden's first try the Smith conversion took the Tigers to a 6-0 lead. They held that lead for most of the first half as Bega worked their way back into the game aided by a flow of penalties. Bega's Craig Masterson scored their first try to level the scores with a few minutes until the break. With seconds until the interval Eden's Tyrone Thomas made an incisive run which put the Tigers right on the attack and ultimately to Tom Bell touching down for an unconverted try to put Eden in front 10-6. At half time CC Tommy Lynch spoke about application in defence and some variations that might crack the Bega defence.

The second stanza began and Bega quickly scored off the back of a penalty. The early penalties to Eden had been well negated by now, with the steady shrill of the referee's whistle assisting the home side to gain authority, which they never really did despite a 12-8 penalty count.

Bega mounted a strong attack after Eden had knocked on, and it looked as though the usually impregnable Eden defence was holding, but a controversial restart of the tackle count to Bega and then another penalty to Bega enabled them to mount sufficient pressure to score a crucial try and take the lead 16-10.Eden had a chance to level the game when young five-eighth come centre Dylan Fletcher looked sure to score only to spill the ball with the try line beckoning. Eden did score the final try of the match when Darren Griffin scored in the dying seconds. Tyrone's conversion only just missed but the Tigers had tasted defeat, 16-14 for the first time this season.

Eden's best included Phil Crosby, CC Tommy, Ian Smith and Ian McBain, Scott Jackson and Mick Wykes, but all our players gave everything they had and should be very proud of their efforts in what was a very entertaining match.

Despite the scoreline the Eden side were probably the superior side despite missing players of the calibre of Baker, Hennesy, Bolton, Michelin, Bamblett, Creswick and Stewart. New pom Brendan also missed the game. Credit goes to the Bega team for capitalising on their opportunities and breathing life into the Group 16 competition. It was unfortunate that some incidents after the match involving some rather ugly Bega supporters marred the trip away, and raised questions about standards of behaviour, sportsmanship and consumption of alcohol and drugs.

Next week the Tigers take on Narooma at Eden so all roads lead to George Brown Sportsground next Sunday when the under 18's kick off at 11.00am, reserves about 12.30 girls at 2.00 and firsts about 2.30pm.