NSW Country rugby union: Newcastle beat Illawarra to lift Caldwell Cup

Newcastle reclaim country rugby crown TweetFacebookAll weekend, both games, they were top-class.

Stu Pinkerton

“There’s a few good stories,” Pinkerton said.

“Josh Stewart’s played Country for different provinces for six or seven years but has never held the Caldwell Cup. He’s been captain of Country.

“Ben Ham, in colts and seniors, has been here six times and never won.

“Potentially Jay Strachan and Steve Lamont this was a last opportunity to play for Newcastle.

“I think they’re thinking about not representing this year. It was great for them because they’ve been stalwarts in the team. It was great to see them with the trophy.

“And then there’s 11 debutants in the team as well, so it’s great for the future to see so many young guys be part of the team that wins.”

Newcastle’s only blemish in the final was an intercept try just on half-time.

“We got out to 17-0. I thought we were the better side. We were comfortable,” Pinkerton said.

“In the second half we kept them scoreless. Our defence really held them in check and when we had the opportunity to score our backs were really slick. All weekend, both games, they were top-class.”

The coach also praised his physios and trainers for keeping the players fresh across the weekend.

“Yesterday was really hot. We’ve only played two or three club games. It’s a high standard. It’s a hard thing to do. It’s the team that can manage that the best, too,” he said.

“It was a great off-field effort as well.”

Newcastle flyhalf and goal-kicker Dane Sherratt was named playerof the tournament.

The Newcastle under-19s lost their final 14-8 against Central Coast, but halfback Gus Locke was namedplayer of the colts tournament.

The Hunter’s women won their sevens semi-final over Mid North Coast 17-0 but lost the final 19-10 to Central West.

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