CAN­NON FODDER

Cap­tain Han­cock keeps Red­men in reck­on­ing for fi­nals

The Daily Examiner - - SPORT - Gary Ni­chols sport@dai­lyex­am­iner.com.au

RUGBY UNION: Driv­ing rain, a sod­den field and soaked fans ... in­side and out.

Not ideal con­di­tions for the Grafton Red­men Spon­sors’ Day.

How­ever, what mat­tered most was the score­board with the home side pro­duc­ing the goods in two grades against the Kempsey Can­non­balls.

McKimms Grafton Red­men first grade side, led su­perbly by cap­tain and play­maker Kyle Han­cock, ran out win­ners 29-10 to keep them in fi­nals reck­on­ing.

Han­cock com­pletely dom­i­nated pro­ceed­ings with a hat-trick of five-poin­t­ers. But it was his as­tute kick­ing game that turned the screws on the vis­i­tors, keep­ing them pinned in their own half for most of the con­test.

“In these con­di­tions I was sur­prised they (Kempsey) didn’t kick out of trou­ble and de­cided to run,” Han­cock said af­ter the match.

“We kept them down in their own half for most of the game. You can’t win a game from your own twenty-two.”

With their scrum once again dom­i­nant, Grafton went to the sheds with a com­fort­able 17-5 lead. How­ever, af­ter the break the home side went for an early smoko be­fore tries to Dom Bul­lock and Han­cock put the re­sult be­yond doubt.

“We al­ways ex­pected a phys­i­cal game and in the end we prob­a­bly thought the score­line would have been a bit closer,” Han­cock said.

“We had a bit of a lull in the mid­dle of the game but credit to our guys, we stuck to the task and fin­ished off strongly.

“I also thought our scrum paved the way again to­day and we kept it tight and played the right game in the con­di­tions.”

Back from a long stretch on the side­lines, for­mer in­side-cen­tre Keaton In­gram shifted to the full­back po­si­tion and de­spite hav­ing lim­ited op­por­tu­ni­ties caused headaches for the op­po­si­tion with his barn­storm­ing re­turns of the foot­ball.

“I thought he (Keaton) had a great game at the back and adds an­other di­men­sion to the back­line,” Han­cock said.

Grafton are at home to Wau­chope Thun­der next week. Thun­der were once again thumped, 65-0 this time by Port Pi­rates.

Hen­woods sec­ond grade sur­vived a late scare from Kempsey to win 27-19.

Young cen­tre Jake Har­ris again tore the op­po­si­tion apart and must be in con­sid­er­a­tion for a spot in the first grade run-on side.

PHOTO: GARY NI­CHOLS

UPENDED: Red­men full­back Keaton In­gram was solid for Grafton in their 29-10 win against Kempsey.

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