Mid North Coast Axemen win the Richardson Shield at NSW Country Rugby Union Championships

Richardson Shield winners - Mid North Coast Axemen. Photo: Josh Brightman | Balanced Image Studio
Richardson Shield winners - Mid North Coast Axemen. Photo: Josh Brightman | Balanced Image Studio

Winners are grinners.

That's the case for the Mid North Coast Axemen as our men took out the Richardson Shield in Tamworth on the weekend.

With the senior mens split into two competitions, the Axemen fought for victory in a division featuring Central North, New England and Western Plains.

The men won their first match against New England 54-10.

Bleddyn Gant, Iulio Tavete, Jeremy Winn, Josh Rayner, Josh Sketchly, Dave Nicol and Blayk Bragg were the try-scorers.

Sunday morning saw the Axemen up against Western Plains in the Shield final.

The Mid North Coast men left no stone unturned, demolishing their opponent in a 80-19 to secure the shield.

Tries went to Josh Rayner, Bleddyn Gant, Dave Nicol, Aaron Booby, Chris Watkins, Ra Wilson, Josh Sketchley, Arek Werstak and Jeremy Winn.

Port Macquarie's Bleddyn Gant was named player of the final.

"[It was] an outstanding success for us," MNC Rugby executive officer Bruce Worboys said to the Argus.

"It was a very dominant performance, we were playing against zones at full strength - Western Plains had to beat Central North, which is never an easy task, to get into the final.

"On Sunday the boys put the after burners on, it was really impressive.

"Myself and president Pete Gerathy were very pleased with the performance."

In the Thomson Cup, the women's side [Tomahawks] started strong with a 24-10 win over Central Coast.

Tries went to Greta Smith, Renee Clarke and Danielle Buttsworth.

The girls came up against a strong Hunter team in their second match of the day, losing 43-12 with Port Pirates Emily Freeman and Gloucester's Kayla Jory scoring.

A 12-5 win over Central North followed the next morning before going down 31-8 in the consolation final against Central Coast.

"[The girls] had to back up again after only 90 minutes and play against Central Coast who we'd already beaten," Mr Worboys said.

"Central Coast hadn't played that morning so everything was against us but we hung in there and showed a lot of courage."

"All up a very successful championship for our girls."

Overall, the competition was a positive for the region.

"This was the most successful Mid North Coast campaign for many years and possibly our best performance by a very well organised and committed team," Mr Worboys said via MNC Rugby Facebook.

"A number of players certainly put the Country selectors on notice that rugby is alive and well on the Mid North Coast."

Forster-Tuncurry's Aaron Booby, Coffs Snappers Andrew Mallam and Brad Thorn along with MNC and SCU captain AJ Gilbert were some of the standouts.

James Lancaster, Jeremy Winn, Caedan Allan, Iulio Tavete, Misimoa Tavete and Kea Pereira. Photo: Kempsey Cannonballs Facebook

James Lancaster, Jeremy Winn, Caedan Allan, Iulio Tavete, Misimoa Tavete and Kea Pereira. Photo: Kempsey Cannonballs Facebook

The Kempsey Cannonballs had a total of eight representatives throughout both sides.

Shawnee Potts, Kirra Davison and Imeleta Richard were apart of the Tomahawks while Jeremy Winn, Caedan Allan, Iulio Tavete, Misimoa Tavete and Kea Pereira played for the men.

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