THIRTY-FOUR unanswered points took Bathurst Panthers to another Group 10 premier league derby success on Sunday over rivals St Pat’s at Carrington Park.
Continuing their trend of recent devastating second half performances Panthers rallied from 22-18 down to take a 52-22 win over the Saints.
The contest was in contrast to this year’s earlier defence-oriented Bathurst derby where Panthers were 20-4 winners.
Panthers captain-coach Doug Hewitt was ecstatic with the 10-try triumph.
“It was an unreal start for once but two lapses of play let them back into it. The second half was a credit to our boys, we’ve still got to work on getting that first half right,” he said.
“Local derbies can bring the best out in some players.
“There was a bit of niggle in the game, and that can make things go either way, but today it brought out the best in us.”
Pat’s captain-coach Greg Behan said it was frustrating to see his team unable to keep their momentum going.
“We go bang-bang then there’s a tiny mistake and everyone stops playing football,” he said.
“We’ve spoken about it time and time again. If we’re playing to our strengths and to our structure then there’s no team in the comp that we wouldn’t trouble.
“When we make a mistake, instead of just moving on to the next play we seem to lock up for some reason.
In the fifth minute Panthers produced the first genuine scoring chance of the game when Jake Betts’ line break brought his side in striking range.
Panthers opened the scoring in lucky fashion when their blocked grubber wound up in the hands of winger Andrew Mendes who found a try in the right corner.
The damage continued when Betts latched onto a Hewitt bomb to score the second try of the day.
A timely Mendes interception and 60 metre run put Panthers up 14-0 in the 20th minute.
Pat’s were able to respond in style with converted tries in back-to-back sets.
Sam Dwyer was on the scene to finish off a big line break through the middle of the ground and on the next Pat’s possession Caleb Wardman was the beneficiary in a big Saints overlap near the left sideline.
Panthers maintained their 14-12 lead for the remaining 10 minutes of the half.
Pat’s blew a chance to take the lead shortly after the break and were swiftly punished when Panthers took the ball up the other end to score through Willie Wright.
Saints responded with the try of the match.
Tim Holman made a break near the half way line before the ball went through several sets of hands and finished with Caleb Wardman.
In a near-identical play on their next set Pat’s put Wardman into space for his hat-trick and a 22-18 lead.
When an unconverted Chris Shephard try brought Panthers level it signalled a drastic shift in momentum that would never be altered.
Pat’s put the kick off out on the full and Brent Seager scored at the end of the set.
A piece of solo Doug Hewitt brilliance made it 34-22 before a Jack Siejka try inside the final 10 minutes crippled the Saints’ winning hopes.
Even though Panthers were home and hosed they didn’t take the foot off the gas.
Panthers’ defensive rush earned them a line drop out and from the ensuing kick Seager bagged his brace.
Jye Barrow pushed Panthers past the 50 mark with his try next to uprights inside final three minutes.