Nelson Bay Rugby Union Club had a nail biting 20-19 win over Southern Beaches at Gateshead last Saturday.
The Beaches had a 14-10 lead at half time, however the Gropers pack showed plenty of character and worked hard to haul in the deficit with Adam Edwards scoring a try off the back of a pick and drive by the Bay forwards, narrowing the margin to 19-15.
The Bay continued its commitment to the tight game and in the dying seconds blindside flanker Cameron Rowse crashed over for a try to give the Gropers the two competition points and a chance for a semi-final spot.
Players player was Rowse, while five eighth Chad Northcott's astute kicking game in windy condition provided the Gropers with good field position.
The lower grades went down seconds 38-7 and Medowie lost to Beaches 31-19.
Before the game there were some tense issues between the clubs and the NHRU hierarchy with the clubs instructed to play Wildfires players who are not playing due to the suspension of the Sydney Shute Shield competition.
Southern Beaches agreed to use the players while Gropers club president Gavin Rocher and first grade coach Michael Wiringi decided to make a stand and not use Wildfires players.
Rocher said that there was no way he would stand down loyal members of the Bay playing group to accommodate Wildfires players. "We have a host of young players who train and play every week and they will be a priority for our coming games." The district clubs have a meeting with NHRU this week.
The Northern Hawks rugby league club will play its final home game round this weekend with reserve grade and the under 19s to play South Newcastle and the open grade will host Cardiff. Last Saturday the Hawks hosted the Kurri Bulldogs and blitzed a depleted Kurri line up 60-0.
Brad Tghe's team showed their class as they raced in 10 tries while sharpshooter five eight Travis Edwards managed to convert all his 10 chances. The Hawks back five of captain coach Tighe, Tyron Nean, Manu Matoka, Danny Vale and Mat Smith generated all the attacking raids that led to tries.
Hooker Floyd Tighe also had a fine game. The open grade lost a close contest to Thornton-Beresfield 32-30, playing a man short for the final 10 minutes. Best for the Hawks were fullback Greg Morris-Davies and hooker Craig Ekert.