BEARS FALL SHORT: No Carnival success but Bundy impresses
LEAGUE: The Bundaberg Bears might have fallen just short in winning the 47th Battalion yesterday in under-20s but the side was able to win in another area - bringing respect back in the jersey.
The side finished second in the tournament after losing to Toowoomba in the final 34-10 despite leading in the early stages of the decider.
Bundaberg dominated on Saturday to qualify for the final, starting with a 40-0 win over Roma in the quarter-final to progress to the semis.
The Bears then continued the strong defence in the second contest against Rockhampton, keeping them scoreless in a 22-0 win.
But their run came to an end as Toowoomba claimed the title to provide the third different winner in as many years in under-20s.
"Toowoomba was just too good for them,” Bundaberg Rugby League chairman Mike Ireland said.
"The boys went all right, but had a few injuries.
"We had 16 play in the decider.
"But the team also made a few unforced errors that hurt them as well in the second half.”
Bundaberg started well with a Bailey Robertson try and a Layton Chambers conversion giving the side a 6-4 lead after Toowoomba scored first.
The Clydesdales then took control of the game, scoring two tries before half time to lead 14-6, before adding another try right after the break.
Bundaberg's Sam Robinson scored to reduce the margin to 18-10 but that would be the end of the comeback.
Toowoomba scored the last three tries of the game to secure the title and end a brave campaign for the Bears.
"You win some and you lose some sometimes,” Ireland said.
"But I'm really proud of the team, they behaved themselves throughout the trip.
"They also gave it everything they got with a few blokes limping around after the final.”
Bundaberg Bears captain Tyrell Howard said the performance was the best it could have done.
"The carnival was great, us Bundy boys dug deep on day one, coming away with two wins but unfortunately we fell short,” he said. "Toowoomba were a well-built team and were very quick.”
Howard was rewarded with his performance with selection to the Central Crows under-20 team that will play South East Queensland on July 27 at Caboolture. He was joined in the squad by fellow Bundy Bears Layton Chambers, Brendan Stewart, Tiko Hooper and Tyson Douglas.