You know the old sporting cliche about "snatching victory from the jaws of defeat"? The grand final of the Newcastle & Hunter Rugby League's Tier B Tag competition on the weekend was more dramatic than that.
This was thrusting your arm all the way down defeat's throat, pulling out the half-digested contents and reassembling them, somehow, as the most unlikely win you'll ever see, ever.
The scene played out as follows. West Wallsend led the Cardiff Cobrettes* 6-4 as the hooter went. That was it. West Wallsend had won the grand final. Or had they?
As you can see in the video above, the chaos started when a jubilant player hurled the ball skywards on hearing the hooter.
Problem is, if you read the rules of rugby league (which in most respects are the same as "tag" or non-tackle footy), they clearly state that the game is not over till the ball is out of play.
The rules state:
"If time expires in either half when the ball is out of play or a player in possession has been tackled and the ball has not been played, the Referee shall immediately blow his whistle to terminate play.
If the ball is in play when time expires, the Referee shall terminate play when next the ball goes out of play or a player in possession is tackled."
The second bit is the crucial part. Seems the ball was deemed still to be in play when it was thrown in the air. And when that happened, Cobrettes player Bryden Sloan Harris scooped it off the ground, then ran all the way to the tryline and scored.
Game over. 8-6 to the Cobrettes. "Oh no. What a way to finish the game," the commentator said.
As Harris said on Facebook, "it's not over til the fat lady sings as my dad has told me about 4000 times".
Meanwhile the Cardiff Cobras club praised "the quick thinking and positive persistence of Bryden Sloan Harris". It said "the team triumphed after one of the most mind boggling brain explosions you will ever see on the football field".
"The game was there to be won but when the final siren went off, it was lost!"
*It appears that a "Cobrette" is not an actual thing, and that a female cobra is still a cobra, just like a female viper is not a viperette. Interestingly, it seems that a female king cobra is also still a king cobra, not a queen cobra. So now you know.Suggest a correction