THE Merriwa Magpies enter the Hunter Valley Group 21 Women’s Nines grand final undefeated following a nail-biting 16-12 win over the Murrurundi Mavettes at Wilson Oval on Friday night.
The unbeaten outfit now tackles the Greta Branxton Colts in this week’s decider at Olympic Park, Muswellbrook.
Although the Magpies maintained their winning streak in a highly-entertaining encounter, they did do it tough – thanks to a gutsy Murrurundi side and losing key players Gaynor Blackadder and Jessyca Morgan for a period of time.
The Mavettes took full advantage of the situation and, buoyed by a vocal home crowd, enjoyed a handy 6-0 lead courtesy of a converted try to the in-form Lucy Prudden.
Merriwa hit back through Kelly Maslen to trail 6-4.
But, Murrurundi surged further ahead when Hannah Turkington dived over near the uprights. Prudden added the extras for a 12-4 margin.
Right on the stroke of half-time, Maslen snared her second of the evening. Morgan converted and team went to the break behind on the scoreboard 12-10.
The Magpies, with wins over the Aberdeen Tigers, Greta Branxton Colts, Scone Thoroughbreds and Muswellbrook Ramettes in recent weeks, then lifted the tempo, despite facing plenty of resistance from the Mavettes.
And, with the match in the balance, it was the never-say-die Blackadder who crossed the tryline. Morgan made no mistake with the shot at goal, sealing the triumph 16-12.
Murrurundi will have the opportunity to dust themselves off against the Thoroughbreds in the play-off between third and fourth.
MERRIWA MAGPIES 16 (Kelly Maslen 2, Gaynor Blackadder tries; Jessyca Morgan 2 goals) defeated MURRURUNDI MAVETTES 12 (Lucy Prudden, Hannah Turkington tries; Prudden 2 goals)
Hunter Valley Group 21 Women’s Nines final
Friday, December 7 – at Olympic Park, Muswellbrook
6.15pm: Murrurundi v Scone
6.45pm: Merriwa v Greta Branxton