As the the 2018 NSW Country Rugby Championships approached, Sarah Stewart was resigned to the fact she would miss the tournament.
Stewart was named as a shadow reserve for Central North side and with no withdrawals the Red Devil would miss the tournament.
But, just a couple days out, Mid North Coast required some more players and Stewart put her hand up to play.
Stewart said there wasn’t a high expectation on the side to go deep into the competition.
However, Mid North Coast turned it on and finished second in the women’s sevens competition.
“It was bit of a mixed group of girls,” Stewart said.
“But because they weren't even expected to go, let alone play so well, there was no pressure.
“We just went out and had fun.”
Central North finished third in the women’s competition while over in the men’s side of the draw, the North West Bushrangers side – which featured Gunnedah players Oscar Hunt and Joe Hinchey – scraped home for a one-point win over the Dolphins to finish their NSW Country Championship campaign on a positive note.
The Bushrangers were given a late scare with the Dolphins scoring after the bell and having a kick from the sideline to win. But it was unsuccessful and the Bushrangers prevailed 23-22.
Close games were somewhat the order of the weekend for the Bushrangers, whose silverware hopes had been quashed by Western Plains 31-26 on Saturday.
In a see-sawing contest the Bushrangers led with about 10 minutes to go, but a fortuitous try to the home side – scooping up a loose ball that had spurted out of the ruck – saw them reclaim the lead after holding a 19-5 advantage at half-time.
The Bushrangers were attacking as they searched for a late equaliser, and came close on a couple of occasions, but couldn’t get the ball down over the line. Coach Andrew Collins was encouraged by the way they worked for each other.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.