ONE of the most dominant streaks ever seen in Group 10 history has finally come to an end and it has left a league tag heavyweight starring down the barrel of elimination.
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On Sunday morning at Mudgee's Glen Willow Stadium, Orange CYMS posted an upset 16-6 win over St Pat's in the league tag major semi-final.
It is the first time since round 18, 2017 that the Saints have tasted defeat, their remarkable run of success having seen them win 59 consecutive games.
It means the three-time defending premiers - and two of those title winning years were undefeated campaigns - are now in a fight for survival.
Saints captain-coach Mish Somers conceded the desire of CYMS to earn a direct path to the grand final showed.
"Just little mistakes we probably wouldn't have made on another day cost us, but they just wanted it more," she said.
"They showed up, were good in defence and made some really good tags which probably frustrated us a bit.
"So we'll go back to the drawing board this week, we've got another hard game against Hawks and they'll come out firing as well."
Playing finals for the first time since 2019, Sunday morning's match delivered in terms of drama and tension.
It rained in the first half, the sun came out in the second half.
The Saints scored first, Orange CYMS responded.
The defending premiers rallied late and more than once had CYMS' defence stretched, but handling errors saw potential tries go begging.
It all added up to Orange CYMS qualifying for the grand final and now being one win away from its maiden Group 10 senior league tag premiership.
The way CYMS played against the Saints - who had beaten them 24-16 in round 11 - certainly impressed Somers, while she felt her side lacked execution when it mattered.
"They played a really good game of footy, they didn't make mistakes, they were just good for the whole 50 minutes and we didn't play our best," Somers said.
"We probably hurt ourselves by making errors at crucial times and CYMS were able to capitalise ... it just wasn't our day.
"Too many little errors cost us field position."
The Saints scored the opening try of the grand final qualifier via Lily Booth, but CYMS hit back before half-time in somewhat controversial circumstances via Sophie Stammers.
"They were tagged and then they passed the ball and were allowed to play on and they put a little grubber in and scored," Somers said.
"So it was a bit frustrating because it probably shouldn't have been a try, but that's the way the game goes."
In the second half Hope Gibson put CYMS ahead and when Briony Egan went over out wide, the boil over looked a real possibility.
Though the Saints did create chances as the clock ticked down, strong CYMS defence and handling errors meant the blue and whites did not add to their tally.
For the first time in five years, the Saints tasted defeat in a Group 10 match.
"There was probably about 10 minutes to go when they scored that last try, so there was plenty of time for us to score some points," Somers said.
"We got some good position, but we dropped the ball two or three times out wide when we had the overlap to score."
Somers will now try to rally her players ahead of a sudden-death clash with Orange Hawks.
Hawks won its elimination final on Saturday 32-6 over Cowra.
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