The expression "speed kills" is as true in football as on the road, and it was all too evident when the Gloucester Cockies women's rugby union team swept aside the injury-plagued Forster Tuncurry Dolphinettes at Peter Barclay Field in Tuncurry on Saturday (May 25).
In a display reminiscent of their grand final-winning performance last season, the Cockies overwhelmed the Dolphinettes, 79-5, running in 13 tries to their rivals' one try.
By unfortunate chance, the outcome was identical to the Wauchope Thunder women's success at the same ground a week earlier, the Dolphinettes again losing, 79-5, with hooker, Demi Fox, displacing her shoulder one week and hospitalised with a knee injury the next.
When Gloucester failed to field a men's rugby team this year, the club survived through women's pride and the spirit of the likes of club legend, Chris Marchant, and the "Lady from Wairarapa", Jacki Peachey.
Coach Marchant fielded a blend of experienced and youthful players, most appearing blessed with the attribute of speed. Likewise, as a splendid team does, they passed and handled the ball superbly.
In the feast, Chloe Shultz and Charlotte Maslen both ran in three tries, Ellie Schumann and Bronte Wisely two each, with Taylor Scanlon scoring a try and enjoying a fine game.
For the hosts, their try was a remarkable effort by Daniela Crowther, still recovering from a back injury yet defying pursuers from 60 metres out, while others to impress were the young bloods, Christina Davis and Carla Pereira-Odlum.
From this performance, the Wauchope Thunder may not be the certainties for the Kennards Hire premiership title after all, even considering the impact of their champion, Ellie Johnston. They certainly rattled Wallamba's rafters on Saturday, winning decisively, 62-10.
Disturbingly, the 2009 and 2011 premiership glow about Old Bar Clams rugby club and its stalwarts, Richard Crook and Darren Drury, has passed. Deep cracks are widening and the club's future is precarious.
In the wake of rugby league considerations of an amalgamation between Old Bar and Taree City league clubs, the Clams forfeited their scheduled sixth round rugby game against the Manning River Ratz last Saturday due to lack of numbers.
The forfeiture appears the grim but inevitable outcome to early-season developments when Old Bar began the Kennards Hire premiership by fielding 12 players for their first-round game against the Ratz, and losing, 83-3.
With only 12 men again available last Saturday and Manning River insisting on running on an entire 15-player team, Old Bar forfeited rather than suffer an humiliation.
What with Myall Coast's original withdrawal from the Lower Mid North Coast rugby competition after their 2012 premiership success and Gloucester club's failure to muster a men's team this year, the signs are increasingly alarming.
The Wallamba Bulls men's team, premiers of the last two seasons, appear to have emerged from their early-season slump, overcoming the Wauchope Thunder, 32-22, both teams gaining a bonus point for scoring four or more tries
Sixth round details: (Men): Wallamba 32 (4 tries) beat Wauchope 22 (4); Manning River beat Old Bar by forfeit. Forster Tuncurry bye.
(Women) Old Bar 31 (4) beat Manning River 16; Wauchope 62 beat Wallamba 10; Gloucester 79 beat Forster Tuncurry 5.