The Keech Australia Bendigo Fighting Miners edged out the Melton Warriors 26-24 in a high-scoring contest in last Saturday’s rugby.
Each team scored four tries in a see-saw contest in which Bendigo went out to a 14-0 lead midway through the first half only to concede 24 straight points to the Warriors and trail 14-24 10 minutes into the second half.
Bendigo opened the scoring with a try to prop Misionare Poto, who crashed over in heavy traffic after a break up the middle by Ale Liliva.
This was followed up by a try to the other prop, Nick Wall, three minutes later. Dave Macdonald converted both tries.
Bendigo looked to be in control, but Melton fought its way back into the game scoring two tries in the last 10 minutes of the first half and then repeated the dose in the first 10 minutes of the second half.
However, the Miners showed fighting spirit and lifted their effort.
A try to Gerritt Maiai was followed by a second try to Poto. Macdonald’s conversion of Poto’s try gave the Miners a two-point lead with 15 minutes remaining.
Melton dominated much of the play for the remainder of the match, but dogged Bendigo defence held them out. Melton had two opportunities to go ahead with penalty goal attempts, but the kicker was off-line.
The better players for Bendigo were Phil Keech, Ale Liliva, Macdonald, Matt Boyle and Poto. Josephar Maiai made a big impact off the bench in the second half.