Wellington will meet arch-rivals Dubbo CYMS in the minor semi-final next following the Cowboys’ thrilling 29-26 win over Nyngan.
The scores were locked at 22-all with just minutes left, when replacement Jayden Harvey bustled over for what was the difference in a closely-matched game as many experts had predicted.
Nyngan began well inspired by a big home crowd with front rower Todd Rope charging over then second rower Semisi Tora running around Cowboys’ defenders to put the Tigers 10-0 ahead after 20 minutes.
Mick Peachey, on the back of some good forwards’ lead-up, ran through defenders and young Norm West skittled players to score out wide, levelling the scores at 10-all.
Then Nyngan centre Jone Yacadrau stepped through holes in the Wellington defence while Ali Beale spent time on the sideline for swearing at the referee.
But hard-working Wellington front rower Paul Black assured the elimination final would be deadlocked at half-time and at 16-all there was a sense of mistakes being the difference in a see-sawing match.
Nyngan opened the second half better with half Derek Knight going over but just when the Cowboys needed Beale magic they got it, as he stepped around to the right and gave Wellington the impetus they needed when Harvey scored and Beale piloted a late field goal to bring Cowboys home 29-26 in a high-quality match.
“We are ready for CYMS with our fighting spirit ready to go,’’ captain Paul McGregor said.
Wellington won the reserve grade qualifying final in impressive style to go further in the finals 38-12 over Cobar while the Under-18s went down to Cobar 28-20.
o Wellington 29 (Peachey, West, Black, Beale, Harvey tries. Beale 2, West 2, Ashby 1 goal, Beale 1 field goal) defeated Nyngan 26 (Yacadrau 2, Rope, Tora, Knight tries, Cox 3 goals).