Cowra has claimed the 2021 Blowes Cup after Central West Rugby Union officials decided to abandon the rest of the current season.
The worsening COVID-19 situation across the Western NSW Local Health District forced the hand of CWRU chief Matt Tink, and the teams on top of the ladder in all grades have been crowned premiers.
In the top grade, that means Cowra claims the club's first Central West title, and it's a win Eagles players are going to celebrate.
Veteran Eagles lock Chris Miller says there's an element of relief following the decision to abandon the 2021 finals series, on a couple of fronts.
Players across the region have been battling the unknown since last lacing up the boots on August 7, and as COVID-19 cases continue to emerge across the Central West that uncertainty grew.
But news the Eagles will be crowned champions is also a weight off the club's shoulders, says Miller.
We knew the minor premiership was up for grabs, so we knew it was a big game.Cowra Eagles lock Chris Miller on his side's last win over Emus, which decided the premiership
Leaping the club to the top of the ladder for the first time in 2021, Cowra's 23-12 victory in a top-of-the-table clash with Orange Emus ultimately decided the premiership.
It was the grand final neither club knew they were playing in.
"It's not the way we wanted to win it, but a win's a win and it just proves how vital that game was against Emus," Miller said.
"We knew the minor premiership was up for grabs, so we knew it was a big game.
"It's still something to celebrate and in 20 years time it'll still say 'Cowra Eagles premiers' on the trophy.
"Truth be told, we'd been working towards this for a long time ... it's just come in a different way."
The Cowra club is used to having results decided in unconventional fashion, with the club's previous best result in a Blowes Clothing Cup ended by a technicality.
After one of the best post-season games played in the region, Cowra was sent packing after it was locked at 25-all with Parkes Boars at the end of regular-time and extra-time in the 2013 preliminary final.
The Boars ended the regular season higher on the ladder than the Eagles that season, lifting the Parkes boys into the grand final, where they eventually went down to a dominant Orange City at Pride Park.
"Exactly, it didn't work in our favour at that stage, but this one has," Miller remembered, a member of that Cowra side eight years ago.
"Like I said, it feels like we had more in the tank and that's a bit disappointing ... but we'll take it and celebrate it."
Miller said there would likely be unfinished business in 2022, and hoped the playing group that helped the club to its first minor premiership in 31 years, and now major title too, would be back next season to prove the club is a worthy winner.
"It's probably a bit early to know who will play next year. In saying that, it's probably an empty feeling because we had a lot more in the tank heading into the finals," he added.
"I'd say there will be something to prove next year."
In the CWRU's lower grades, Emus cleaned up in second grade and third grade, while Orange City claimed the colts' crown.
The Bathurst Bulldogs women, again, won the Westfund Ferguson Cup crown.
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