VIDEO: James Nash and St Pat’s in fiery Gympie rivalry match
JAMES Nash State High School opened the floodgates late to bury St Patrick's College 17-5 and claim Gympie school rugby bragging rights at Jack Stokes Oval last night.
The Open Boys squads brought passion and intensity to the contest to ensure they added a thrilling chapter to the storeyed rivalry between the two Gold City schools.
A low scoring first half saw plenty of big hits delivered by both sides, with one St Patrick's player helped from the field looking dazed early on.
St Pat's put in an admirable defensive effort for the bulk of the opening stanza, but Nash managed to break the deadlock after 17 minutes, and the 5-0 scoreline remained at half time.
Inspired by the ball movement of scrum half Joel Spencer and the speed of fullback Denim Osrecki, Nash made use of the short side of the field to score twice more in the second half.
One Osrecki conversion made the score 17-0 and sealed the result, but St Pat's continued their valiant fight until the final whistle.
Their efforts were rewarded late, when an inspired piece of individual play saw a clearing Nash kick charged down and jumped on by a St Pat's player to open their scoring.
The typical off-field mateship between the two schools was obvious once more after full time, with both squads showing plenty of respect following the bruising affair.
Nash coach Torren Brennan was proud of the effort put in by both sides.
"It's always a tough game, the local derby. The boys have been chatting it up for weeks now and it means a lot," Brennan said.
"I know St Pat's and James Nash always play with a great spirit, they are tough, tough games.
We expected it to be close and it was. The St Pat's boys defence was exceptional, but our boys kept our heads right to the end and got the chocolates."
Spencer and Osrecki agreed there was something special about the Nash-St Pat's fixture.
"All the friendships go out the window on the field. As soon as you get off the field everyone laughs and has a good time," Spencer said.
"When you know who you're hitting it gives you more incentive to put a good shot on. There's always banter going into the match.
"It's for bragging rights in Gympie. There's no trophy, it's what you earn."
"It's always a good grudge match against St Pat's, it's been happening for years. No matter what game you play, this one matters a little bit more right here at home," Osrecki said.
"The best team on the night was us, but there was no dominance, it was 50/50 right until the end."
Brennan said the Nash boys had achieved a great result in a season impacted heavily by COVID-19.
"Due to some teams pulling out, we were pretty much dumped into Division 1, so the boys came up against Grammar (A side), St Teresa's and Good Shepherd. Two of those teams are definitely Division 1 teams, so it was a very tough season," Brennan said.
"But in saying that, through six games we got three wins, I'd call that a very successful season for the boys."