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Captain Adrian Vowles led the Toowoomba Clydesdales back into the winners circle yesterday, with a hard fought 32-26 win over traditional rivals the Ipswich Jets. Despite their best efforts, Ipswich were unable to win back the Bulimba Cup Memorial Trophy in front of a healthy home crowd.
The Clydesdales jumped out of the blocks, racing to a 4-0 lead after just two minutes courtesy of a Steve Irwin try. An error by an Ipswich defender gave ?Croc? access to the open line and he took full advantage of the situation. Only minutes later, a brilliant run by David Stagg set up a try for fullback Nick Parfitt, which gave the Clydesdales a 10-0 lead.
The next twenty minutes belonged to the Jets, as a 7-0 penalty count against the Clydesdales nullified the visitors? chances of extending their lead. Flying winger Gideon Mzembe collected two impressive tries to level the scores at 10-all. A further try to fullback Joel Smallwood gave the home side the lead for the first time.
A rampaging Neale Wyatt brought the scores closer just seven minutes out from the break, despite being on the wrong side of a 7-2 penalty count. The Jets were nursing the 16-14 lead at half time.
The Clydesdales came out firing again in the second stanza, with tries to David Stagg and Grant Booker in the first ten minutes bringing the score to 24-16. The Jets wouldn?t lie down, and continued the pressure in both attack and defence. Hooker Paul Cohen turned their field position into points, as the home side came within two points of the Clydesdales.
Late tries to Matt Ballin and Sam Thaiday sealed the match for the Clydesdales, both crossing the line to give the Clydesdales a 32-22 lead with just ten minutes remaining. Refusing to lie down yet again, the Jets hit back through fullback Joel Smallwood to reduce the margin to just 6 points. Some anxious moments in the dying minutes must have given Clydesdales coach John Dixon heart failure, but the visitors managed to hang on to the lead and win the match.
In yet another torrid match, the forwards from both sides dominated the pace and field position for the majority of the match. Adrian Vowles and Neale Wyatt were both extremely consistent in their efforts, while Tom Learoyd, Ben Czislowski and Carl Webb all made damaging impact.
Nick Parfitt continued his incredible 2004 form with another commanding display at fullback, and yet another try to add to his tally for the year. The win was a much needed confidence boost after a disappointing loss to Young Guns last week, also proving to be a great warm-up match for the important clash against Easts Tigers next weekend.
Toowoomba Clydesdales 32 (Thaiday, Ballin, Parfitt, Irwin, Wyatt, Stagg, Booker tries; Irwin 2 goals) defeated Ipswich Jets 26 (Mzembe 2, Smallwood 2, Cohen goals; Lindsay 3 goals) at Bendigo Bank Oval, Ipswich.
Half Time Score: Jets 16-14 Penalties: Jets 10-4 Referee: Justin Eastwood.