Cottesloe went down to only their third defeat for the season in a war of attrition with champions West Scarborough at the weekend, 18 points to 12. The inclement weather forced both sides to play a little less expansive than perhaps either team desired and a lot of the play took place four or five metres either side of the breakdown. Disaster struck in the first quarter of the game when Tim Parks and Kaisa Reidy both went down with shots to the head. Darren the physio later confided in this writer that no less than five premier grade players endured similar knocks during the course of the game, but I digress. Wests struck early for the first score using brute force and quick hands to score a try out wide. Cottesloe responded though within five minutes when Simi Verata evaded the West’s back-row from a clever chip through to go over Cottesloe’s first try. Charl converted and Cottesloe took the lead. With a few minutes remaining in the half, Sasha Holloway capitalised on some powerful mauling by the Cottesloe forward pack and the boys in blue went in at half time 12 points to 5 up.
With the weather worsening, the handling for both sides began to deteriorate significantly. Neither side could sustain more than a couple of phases before either a knock on would ensue or an overly officious referee would intervene. Wests made a breakthrough though when their chunky centre pummelled his way through for a score on the left. The conversion was missed though and Cottesloe maintained their tenuous lead. Charl had to move into the number nine jersey due to injury to players elsewhere and that had a noticeable effect on Cottesloe’s ability to play territory in the difficult conditions. As a result, Wests were able to dominate territory and it forced a couple of penalties. With twenty minutes to go West’s kicker managed to convert a notoriously difficult one and they went 13-12 ahead. It went from bad to worse from that point when with ten minutes to go, the West’s centre managed to grab his second try of the game when he flattened a few Cottesloe defenders on the way to the line. Matters were compounded for Cottesloe with five minutes to go when captain Kieran Stringer was given a yellow card for contesting an issue with the referee. This writer feels though that the standard of refereeing left a lot to be desired and the supporters could definitely comprehend Kieran’s total exasperation with the officiating. With a minute to go, Zane Hunga and Tobias Hoskins were not in the mood to take no for an answer and they managed to force a penalty, and the ball was kicked to the corner. The lineout was won but the resulting maul was successfully disrupted by the Wests forwards and the game was brought to a close on a final score of 12-18.
The conditions were awful, the injuries piled up and the man in the middle was limited, but this team showed tremendous fortitude in the face of this adversity. Massive heart was shown by the men in blue and despite the challenges they faced they still engineered a last minute chance to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Lewis Pickering had to play a huge amount of football throughout the day having started for ressies and coming on early for the prems, but he still put in an industrous shift at the coal face. Tobias Hoskins, Zane Hunga and Scotty Nichol filled the void of leadership when the team lost so many players to injury and cards respectively. For this writer though, Simi had a another huge game. With this man in the side, Cottesloe always have a chance. He mixes the sublime with the ridiculous with ball in hand and for a man that is wafer thin he smashes the enemy with regularity. The six point loss ensures that a bonus point was earned and it could be significant in four weeks time. Cottesloe travel to the foreshore on Saturday in great confidence, despite this reverse.