Scoring records tumbled as the Fighting Miners humiliated a hapless Border Army team in the minor semi-final at Shadforth Park last Saturday.
Spearheaded by centre Michael Crichton, who scored an incredible nine tries, the Miners completely dominated proceedings, scoring twenty two unanswered tries.
From Crichton’s first try in the second minute of play till Vaai Liufau’s try in the final minute, the Miners were unrelenting. The longest period between tries was eight minutes midway through the first half.
The new records established for the Bendigo Rugby Club were:
• most points in a match 140 eclipsing the 122 scored against Echuca-Moama in 2002;
• most tries in a match 22, surpassing the 18 scored against Echuca-Moama in 2002;
• most points in a match by an individual (Michael Crichton 45) easily beating the 33 scored by former Tongan test player Tevita Asi against Harlequins in 1994; and
• most tries by an individual in a match (Michael Crichton 9) eclipsing the previous record of five held jointly by Leo Toma, Brent Karl, Warren Meeks, Gideon Tauelangi and Sione Uhi.
Had coach Alan Wilkinson not invoked the mercy rule by replacing Crichton with ten minutes left on the clock, Crichton would probably have reached double figures so easily did he breach the feeble Border Army defence.
The forward pack set the tone for the match when they took two tight heads at scrums in the first minute of play. By half-time, Bendigo had scored ten tries and established a 66-0 lead.
Referee Tony Miller took pity on the out-muscled Border Army scrum when he ordered uncontested scrums early in the second period.
Despite Wilkinson progressively emptying the bench, the scoring rampage continued in the second half. Crichton added three more tries to his first half six before being substituted.
The Tyson’s Reef Hotel player of the day award went to Crichton. Others to play well included Jesse Tuitupou, Johneen Fagavao, Elson Tuitupou, Josh Manderson, James Learai and Steve MacDonald.
Next week, the Miners will contest the preliminary final against the Cobram Dust Devils at Koonoomoo. The Dust Devils lost the major semi-final to the Puckapunyal Boars 7-12 in sudden death overtime after the scores were deadlocked at 7-7 at the end of normal time at Puckapunyal.
Scorers: M. Crichton 9, S.MacDonald 2, J. Tuitupou, K. Felupeai, Jon Solomon, J. Learai, J. Fagavao, V. Liufau, S. Fagavao, J. Jeffries, P. Thomas, T. Henderson, N. Poingdestre tries; J. Manderson 15 goals.
Team: 24 N. Poingdestre, 2 E. Tuitupou, 3 J. Tuitupou, 4 N. Dehnert, 5 B. Westley, 6 A. Saville, 7 D. Fallaver, 8 K. Felupeai, 9 S. MacDonald, 10 Jon Solomon, 11 J. Learai, 12 J. Fagavao, 13 M. Crichton, 14 Jeremy Solomon, 15 J. Manderson, 16 L. Eriksen, 17 V. Liufau, 18 S. Fagavao, 19 J. Jeffries, 20 P. Thomas, 21 N. Whittle, 22 S. Queally, 23 T. Henderson
By W. Coulter