IT was only Good Friday by name, not by nature, for St Pat’s.
The Saints fell to their second Group 10 premier league defeat in as many matches when they went down 16-10 to hosts Mudgee Dragons at Glen Willow Stadium.
An improved Pat’s launched a fight back against the defending premiers in the second half but it wasn’t enough to stop the Dragons from winning their ninth match in succession – when including the past season.
If there was any silver lining to the defeat for the visitors it was that Pat’s were able to outscore the Dragons in the second half, after starting the final term down 10-0.
The Dragons were the side who bumped Pat’s out of last year’s finals and they were once again inflicting more pain on the Bathurst club on Friday.
It took less than four minutes for the Dragons to open the scoring as Sam Wooden converted his own try.
Mudgee continued to overwhelm the visitors in the opening stages as 10 minutes later Lee Hicks crossed for the 10-0 lead.
Saints put a stop to the damage and looked a renewed side when they came back for the second half.
Chris Shephard scored his first premier league try for Pat’s just a matter of minutes after the break to get the margin back to six.
Daniel Bain responded to the Dragons’ third try of the day with a four-pointer of his own, but it was too little too late for Pat’s.
However, following a 42-6 thumping to Orange CYMS in round one, Pat’s hooker Hudson White says things looking up for the blue and white.
“It was definitely an improvement form last week. Things are heading in the right direction,” he said.
“I think having Greg Behan and McCoy White back for us this week made a huge difference, and we were able to change our game plan because of that.”
White said the Bathurst men were let down by a slow opening quarter of the game.
“We just made a whole lot of early mistakes and that made it too tough for us,” he said.
“For them to have around 70 per cent of the possession and us to only lose by six, that’s pretty good for us.
“If we can just cut down on those mistakes in our next game then we’ll do well.”
Pat’s continue a tricky start to the season in this weekend’s derby against the Bathurst Panthers at Carrington Park before they take a week off with the bye.
White hopes the challenging draw will help Pat’s.
“Hopefully with a couple of these hard games at the start the next time we play these teams [CYMS and Dragons] we will be prepared for them,” he said.
Dragons, CYMS and Oberon Tigers are the three sides who now remain unbeaten after two rounds.