THE Orange Barbarians kicked off their 2015 New Era Cup campaign with a disappointing 34-6 loss at the hands of Villages United, but captain-coach Jason McClymont couldn’t fault the effort of his troops.
Played at Max Stewart Oval, the hosts were made to tackle for virtually the entire first 40 minutes and gallantly held their line for long periods of the season opener.
Barbarians did crack, but a 10-0 deficit after forgoing a mountain of possession early in the game isn’t the end of the world.
The second half, however, was a different story.
Weighed down by a half of tackling, Barbarians simply couldn’t match it with a Villages outfit surging towards New Era Cup premiership favouritism after backing up a pre-season knockout win with a very handy opening act in the season’s first round.
McClymont was full of praise for his side, and said their opposition had the potential to go a long way in 2015.
“They’re not a bad outfit,” he said of Villages.
“They’re completely different to the side that played last year ... and they’re playing decent footy.
“It’s disappointing to have that first-up loss, but I thought the boys defended really well.
“It was one of those games where the scoreline didn’t reflect the nature of the game. It was close at halftime but we defended for the entire time ... they would have had 80 to 90 per cent of possession.
“They ran away with it at the end, but I can’t fault the boys.”
McClymont singled out Beau Baker, John Rose and Darren Davis at fullback as his side’s best in a beaten side last week.
Barbarians get the chance to make amends for the round-one loss this Saturday, however, when they tackle another Bathurst outfit - CSU Blue - in round two.
Blue is coming off the back of a 52-14 thrashing at the hands of CSU Yellow, and McClymont believes if his side can earn an equal share of possession, then a win isn’t far off.
He added his side’s fitness needed improvement.
“The boys defended for the first 40 minutes and we’re pretty fit, but we were just blowing in the second half,” he said.
“If we can work on that over the next couple of weeks then I think we’ll be a better side.”
In other round one games to begin the New Era Cup, the Bears got the better of the Giants in the Lithgow derby 42-14 and a new-look Wallerawang defeated Blackheath 22-6. Kandos Waratahs had the bye