Cottesloe Defeat Arks of Armadale

 Cottesloe prems came through fire on Saturday to secure their fourth win of the campaign with a 33-28 victory over Arks. It was apparent from the very first minute that Arks were far more formidable than expected and Cottesloe quickly found themselves 14-0 in arrears. If it wasn’t for brave defending from Harry Hutchins and Simi Verata it could have been worse. It took twenty minutes before Cottesloe could really get to grips with the hard direct running of the Arks forward pack and the silky distribution of ex-All Black Regan King in the middle of the field. Even when up against it though, the Cottesloe scrum was superb. Arks could gain no foothold in this space and the Cottesloe front five showed real horsepower. The last ten minutes of the first half were much better for Cottesloe with Tim Parks, Charl and Scotty Nichol getting more involved. Zane Hunga got over for Cottesloe’s first try after a full eight man push from a five metre scrum decimated the Arks set piece. The two blue went in 14-7 behind at the break.
Disaster struck though early in the second period when Arks went over for their third try which was duly converted by their full back, putting Arks 21-7 ahead. Cottesloeresponded almost instantaneously by retrieving the subsequent kick off and squeezing Arks in their own territory through multiple phases. Johnny Iliff smashed his way over from close in and Charl converted to bring Cott back to just seven points down with 25 minutes to go. This was followed by another try by Zu Abrahams which brought the score back level after some deft handling by the backs in the midfield. Unbelievably, Arks scored yet another try out wide with their number 8 and 12 both going through the midfield virtually unchallenged and that resulted in a two on one chance on the outside for their full back to score. Cottesloe were not done though, and Kieran Stringer and Tim Parks fired up the troops for a greater effort in the last fifteen minutes. Sasha Holloway, Ethan Cayless and Jason Badenhorst added much needed energy from the bench and Cottesloe began their comeback. It became apparent, for the second week in a row, that Cottesloe were the fitter team than their opponents. Jimmy Blackburn was stopped inches from the line after a great break from Simi Verata down the right flank. Arks tried to press the attack several minutes later only but Zu Abrahams intercepted an ambitious pass and ran seventy metres to score. Charl converted and the sides were level with six minutes to go.
This last period was frenetic as the Arks forward pack were running on fumes and Cottesloe were coming at them in waves. In the final minute, Simi Verata was taken out of the pack and put at full back, and when he received  the ball he instigated a trio of offloads in the tackle that put Nili Fielea in the left corner for the winner. Charl could not convert but the referee blew the final whistle in the next play to the utter dismay of the large home support. Cottesloe had plundered the men from Armadale without playing particularly well. Despite being by all accounts, a less than stellar performance, there were several standouts on the field. Nili Filea was ferocious with ball in hand as was Simi Verata. Sam Parks rolled back the years from half back, keeping his head when the chips were down and urging the boys in blue to greater effort. A special mention though has to go to new recruit Rikki Bentham. The one constant through the game was the utter dominance that Cottesloe had at scrum time and this was mostly down to Rikki Bentham. He has the look of a Georgian silverback that you see from the top fourteen in France and he certainly fits the bill of a man who will do damage to every scrum in the competition. For his first match, he was superb. Cottesloe sit third on the ladder and travel to first placed Associates next week looking to improve and they welcome back one or two from injury also.