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20years in the making

A convincing 4-1 grand final victory over Wallsend sealed the title and secured Mudgee’s first Country Championship in more than 20 years.

Ready to avenge an extra-time grand final loss in 2019, the ladies were dominant throughout the tournament, finishing undefeated.

The Mudcrabs Mixed opens side also went through to their grand final undefeated but missed out to Wallsend for the second year in a row in a match that went down to the wire, 5-4.

Hard work and training paid off for the Mudgee squads, who traveled to the Central Coast to play against teams from across the state, including regional cities such as Newcastle, Wollongong, and the Central Coast.

Women’s Seniors’ Player of the Final Peta Newsome said the title win was the culmination of a number of years of hard work, driven by some experienced players determined to take Mudgee’s representative team to new heights.

“There has been a core group of girls over the past few years, led by Kerry Reynolds and Nikki O’Brien, who have been really driving this team and making sure the group stays together,” Newsome said.

“It was a great weekend, the girls worked really hard for it.

“Everyone played together as a team, for each other.”

Newsome said the success of the tournament owed credit to the leadership of captains Reynolds and Kimberley King and coach Roy Prasad.

“Roy worked really hard to teach us what he knows, and he is really knowledgeable about touch, so that really played a big part for us.”

Prasad was thrilled with the team’s performance.

“The ladies were amazing,” he said

“I am stoked, they were absolutely unreal. They listened, they followed their structures and they just believed – and the rest is history.

“I think our long training sessions paid off. When it came to the finals we were still running. It was all worth it.”

Back L-R: Jono George, Justin Gossage, Jeremy Doherty, Curtis Solomon,
Lachlan Hill, Paul Bryant, Jared Robinson
Front L-R: Sally Harris, Liz Channon, Keira Rayner, Rebecca Spinner, Grace
Quinn.

 Back L-R: Jono George, Justin Gossage, Jeremy Doherty, Curtis Solomon, Lachlan Hill, Paul Bryant, Jared Robinson Front L-R: Sally Harris, Liz Channon, Keira Rayner, Rebecca Spinner, Grace Quinn.

Despite having played touch for Australia and winning championships with city club, Prasad said he was humbled by the significance of being part of a small country club.

“The girls were just so happy, I’ve never seen a reaction like it,” he said.

“You realise in a little town just what it means and how important it is to everyone.”

The mixed opens were disappointed to miss out on the Championship so narrowly, but the team is shaping up for a strong showing at State Cup later this year (if the tournament is able to proceed under COVID guidelines).

Co-captain Liz Channon said the team has footage of their games to review and analyse as they regroup after the weekend.

“We were so close and we were certainly in it… but that’s sport and that’s why you play. You have the highs and lows and the lows make you want to win it even more,” she said.

“There are plenty of things for us to analyse and to be able to critique our game and show where we can improve is so beneficial.

“Sossa (Justin Gossage) is a great coach and over the weekend the boys played well and the girls played out of their skin.”

Channon said it was great to see strong senior Mudgee Touch teams playing at such a competitive level.

“So many of the seniors coach juniors or have kids who play, so it’s a wonderful opportunity to have this experience filtering down through our club,” Channon said.

“It’s a great direction for the club.”

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