WHEN it comes to attack no side in the Group 10 Junior Rugby League under 16s competition has scored more points than Bathurst Panthers this year, but scoring was not something which came easily in their latest outing.
Fierce rivals St Pat's restricted Panthers to just one try for the first time this season when they met on Friday night, their hard-fought derby at Jack Arrow Oval finishing in an 8-all draw.
The competition leading Panthers went into the match averaging close to 30 points per game, but it took a penalty goal from five-eighth Tim Babbage with 20 minutes to go to see his side avoid a shock loss.
Though the cold and wet conditions were responsible for a number of handling errors, the tight nature of the contest also had plenty to do with gritty, determined defence from both sides.
In the first half it was Panthers who had to absorb plenty of pressure from a Saints unit they had defeated 24-8 in round four.
The Saints struck the first blow in the sixth minute when Oliver Hollow crossed after a 40-20 kick had earned his side an attacking scrum in Panthers' territory.
That gave the hosts confidence and they continued to pressure with strong runs from the likes of centre Jacob Kelleher and Lleyton Lovett. At one stage they spent close to seven minutes in Panthers' territory.
But on their line Panthers threw everything into defence to repel the Saints.
It was an effort which was rewarded eight out from half-time when, after back-to-back sets, they took the lead with a Brody Grabham try and Babbage conversion.
The Saints snatched that lead back in the opening minutes of the second half and it came off the back of a big defensive play, forcing Panthers' winger into touch from the kick-off. The following set Kelleher scored to make it 8-6.
Panthers came hard at the Saints, forwards Nash Chatfield and Nick Cresic charging at the line, but Pat's threw multiple players into tackles.
Babbage finally got Panthers on level terms with a penalty after the Saints were pinged for off-side and though both sides had their chances to find a winner, good defence denied them and it finished in a draw.
BATHURST PANTHERS 8 (Brody Grabham try; Tim Babbage 2 goals) drew with ST PAT'S 8 (Oliver Hollow, Jacob Kelleher tries)
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