FORCEFUL: Lower Clarence Magpies defenders Hugh Stanley and Chris Mitchell drive a Bomber backwards towards his own goalline.
FORCEFUL: Lower Clarence Magpies defenders Hugh Stanley and Chris Mitchell drive a Bomber backwards towards his own goalline. Matthew Elkerton

'Iceman' Kapeen kicks Magpies to miracle win at home

RUGBY LEAGUE: A miracle conversion from the sideline after the full time whistle blew delivered Lower Clarence Magpies their first win of the NRRRL season.

In a match that had it all, including torrrrential downpour, Andrew Kapeen proved the difference off the tee after winger Eathan Kapeen had crossed beyond the fulltime whistle.

It was a match the Magpies had almost lost three times with poor handling, but noone could take it away from them running out 20-18 victors.

It was a special moment for the club, claiming a clean sweep in all four grades against Evans Heads Bombers at Yamba League Field.

The Magpies started with their foot firmly on the accelerator as they chewed up the metres in the opening minutes.

Camped on the Evans River goalline for back to back sets, a dropped ball almost cost the home side a golden opportunity to score.

But an Bombers loose carry gifted possession back to Lower Clarence and the experienced heads in the side were not going to let it slip through their fingers again.

An inside ball close to the line from five-eighth Hughie Stanley found a hard-running Ryan Binge who burrowed his way beneath defenders to open the scoring next to the post.

With the upper hand on the scoreboard the Magpies began to go to work with the ball in hand but they proved their own worst enemy when they had it.

Loose handling, and a penchant to pop the extra pass, came back to bite the Magpies as Evans River attempted to build pressure.

As the rain continued to fall through the middle stages of the opening stanza, it was simple, short passing that got the visitors on top of their rivals.

The Magpies were forced to do extra work in defence and it was not long before they cracked under the pressure with Bombers lock Brody Waters cutting back on a line to score under the posts.

It was a first half marred with drop ball and sloppy passing, but both sides held strong with their defence to close out the first half level on the scoreboard.

Evans River were the first to score in the second half through an individual effort from halfback Nathan Walmsley who kicked through the defensive line for himself.

The ground erupted after Lower Clarence was denied a try against the run of play, with centre Andrew Kapeen charging onto an intercept before streaking 60 metres downfield to score under the sticks.

But referee Troy Martin had not left the halfway line, calling a penalty for an Evans River decoy that had been tackled without the ball.

After another try was disallowed, the crowd got their reward third time lucky, when Kapeen ran down the shortside to draw two defenders, before he offloaded to Eathan Kapeen who scored untouched in the corner.

With all the momentum on their side, back-to-back penalties gave Lower Clarence the field position they needed, and experienced second-rower Alex McMillan obliged barging across for a four-pointer.

In a rollercoaster ride of a final 10 minutes handling again proved difficult for the Magpies, with simple dropped ball in their own half proving not only costly, but heartbreaking.

With minutes left on the clock, the repeat sets on their line was too much to overcome as Bombers dummy-half Brad Fletcher dove across to steal the lead.

But the Magpies proved it's never over until the fat lady sings.

SCOREBOARD: LOWER CLARENCE MAGPIES 20 (E Kapeen 2, R Binge, A McMillan tries; A Kapeen 2 goals) def EHB 18 (N Walmsley, B Waters, B Fletcher tries; L Iverson 3 goals)



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