By Jake Bull
The Illawarra Cutters were narrowly defeated 24-20 by the Mt Pritchard Mounties at WIN Stadium, Wollongong on Saturday.
In a see-sawing affair that saw the lead change multiple times and the game tied at the break, a strong effort midway through the second half from the visitors put them in front as they were able to hold on.
It was the home side who started the strongest though when in the eighth minute; the ball got shifted to the left which allowed Kayne Brennan to score in the corner for a 4-0 lead.
Midway through the stanza Mounties got their first try when halfback Mitch Cornish took the ball to the line and came out the other side for the try and a 4-all scoreline.
In the 33rd minute, the visitors took the lead for the first time when winger Brenko Lee powered his way over out wide to make it 8-4.
With half-time looming, the Cutters got themselves back into the game as a cross-field kick was caught by Junior Vaivai to make it 8-all at the break.
Ten minutes into the second half the lead was retaken by the Mounties when Stewart Mills finished off another shift of play.
Cornish converted the first conversion for the day to make it 14-8.
In the 55th minute, Blake Wallace repeated the work done by Cornish in the first half when he took the ball to the line and stepped the defenders to score.
He converted his own try to bring it level again at 14-all.
The game was not level for long when four minutes later Mark Nicholls finished off a long-range effort that started well in the visitors half.
Cornish made it back-to-back conversions as the score read 20-14.
Seven minutes from time, Mounties scored another long-range try that included a flick-pass and some footwork.
Ultimately Jeremy Hawkins was the one awarded the try to bring the game to 24-14.
Two minutes later the Cutters were given a scrum after a Mounties knock-on.
They kicked directly from the scrum and Eli Roberts was fastest to the ball to score.
Wallace converted to set up an exciting finish at 24-20.
The last few minutes were error riddled and in the 79th minute Heath L’Estrange was sent to the sin bin to cap off a disappointing loss for the home side.
Illawarra Cutters 20. Tries: Brennan, Wallace, Vaivai, Roberts. Goals: Wallace (2/4).
Mt Prtichard Mounties 24. Tries: Cornish, Lee, Mills, Nicholls, Hawkins. Goals: Cornish (2/5).