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New England Rugby Union: Walcha Rams prove class with convincing win over Tamworth in major semi

The Walcha Rams put on a masterclass in Saturday's major semi-final against Tamworth to surge into the New England Rugby Union grand final.

They were so dominant, co-coach Hyde Thomson could hardly find anything to fault in the 42-17 triumph.

"[ It was a] really dominant and controlled game," he said.

"Exactly what I was looking for.

"That is what I have been striving to get all year.

"I am looking to find someone [a stand out] because I have got an award but I can't pick anyone, I think they could share it equally.

"I think everyone muscled up equally."

Thomson was also elated with the fact it was done by a group of players from the smallest town in the New England competition.

"I just said to the guys; we are playing against the whole of Tamworth, the whole of Coffs Harbour - three or four sides on the Mid North Coast, Tamworth combined league and union sides - and we are doing it all in our own little town and that is something they should be really proud of," he said.

"To finish as minor premiers and get to the grand final, in the major semi, is terrific."

The Rams dominated from the outset and never looked back.

It took just four minutes for the hosts to cross with Richard Hunt barging over.

Pat Keen scored in the corner on the 30 minute mark before the competition's top pointscorer Charlie Keen made no mistake with the conversion to lead 14-nil.

In incident in backplay saw yellow cards handed to Tamworth's Livinai Tuicakau and Walcha's Thor Crombie shortly after but it was the Rams who had the last laugh of the half.

Jimmy Ashleigh busted through the Tamworth defence and found Ed Cordingley in support who went through to score a converted try three minutes from half-time.

After getting a turnover on their own line early in the second-half, Walcha carted the ball back up to the Tamworth line to see Charlie Keen cross in the corner.

Much to the dismay of the Tamworth crowd, Keen slotted the conversion from the sideline for the Rams to extend their lead to 28-nil.

It was 35-nil soon after when, what is often touted as the best backline in country rugby, clicked into gear.

Cordingley raced through space on the outside with Simon Newton backing up inside to score the try.

It took nearly an hour but the Magpies did get on the board.

Tensions began to boil over again with Tamworth's Tevita Peceli-Lagimiri yellow carded 20 minutes from full-time.

The Magpies' Russell Johnston barged over to make the deficit to 35-10 before, Walcha was awarded a penalty try via Wally Davidson.

Tamworth rounded out the scoring when a cross-field kick found the arms of fullback Harry Snook who converted his own try.

The Magpies, did however nearly have another try at the death to Jeremy York but it was denied after it was deemed Peceli-Lagimiri took part in a foul play at the time of the try and he was red carded.

After the match, Magpies coach Peter Burke conceded they were beaten by a better side.

"I thought Walcha played particularly well," he said.

"They were very, very clinical in the way they performed.

"They had us out wide most of the game and in the set plays, they were just over us.

"I don't think we played well at all, and Walcha played really, really well."

They'll re-group and re-focus on next Saturday's preliminary final showdown at Armidale's Alcatraz with the winner of the minor semi-final clash between St Albert's College and the Harbour Knights.

"We have got to lift our heads, we have a game next week, that is our issue now," Burke said.

"We as a club need to learn about the intensity of finals.

"That is the third final that we have played in and the last two seasons and we haven't been up to scratch so we have got to learn how to lift ourselves."

In the earlier games, Tamworth won third grade 30-12 over Harbour Knights before the coastal club got one back on their Magpies opponents in second grade with a 45-14 victory.

In the women's sevens, the Pirates and Elkettes shared the spoils, the Tamworth/ Walcha side winning the first game 29-nil and the Elkettes winning the second 15-12.

The Pirates' greater margin ensured they will get next week off with the Elkettes playing the winner of the clash between the Armidale Blues and Barbets on Sunday.