Narrabri Rugby Club’s first XV was at its brilliant best on Saturday when it extended its unbeaten run at home to six matches in the 2022 Central North Rugby Union season after trouncing the Tamworth Pirates by 32 points in round 15.

It was all over by half-time after the Blue Boars dominated the opening 40-minute period to lead 44-5 at the break. The hosts then scored seven more points in the second stanza to secure a 51-19 victory.

Linton Grumley scored a hat-trick in the win to extend his season tally to nine, leaving him second on the club’s first grade tally behind skipper Will McDonnell who bagged a double to finish the day on 13 five-pointers for the Blue Boars in 2022.

Hamish Moore also crossed for two tries for the hosts, and Toby Knight added 16 extra points off the boot as he converted five of the seven tries and slotted two penalty goals in the 32-point victory.

The Blue Boars’ win saw them climb the ladder into second place. They went into the weekend’s game ranked fourth but overtook Pirates and Inverell Highlanders to finish the round trailing only Gunnedah.

The Red Devils hosted Inverell on Saturday in another top-four battle, and they scored a 34-24 victory to get their hands back on the Kookaburra Challenge Cup and take a giant step towards bringing the minor premiership race to a close.

Gunnedah has now accumulated 72 points with just three rounds to go and leads Narrabri by 12 points, meaning that the Red Devils need just four competition points in their final three matches to secure top spot for the second time in as many years.

Narrabri is on 60 points following eight wins, a draw, three losses and 11 bonus points in 2022.

That sees the Blue Boars lead third-placed Highlanders by three points, fourth-placed Pirates by five points, and fifth-placed Moree Bulls, which had the bye on Saturday, by 10 points.

The bottom three sides are well and truly out of the finals picture with three rounds left to play. Walcha Rams had a bye in round 15 and are ranked sixth on 33 points, while the Quirindi Lions are seventh on 31 points and Scone Brumbies are last on 24 points.

Quirindi scored a 27-18 win against Scone on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Narrabri was defeated by the Pirates in the second grade and women’s 10s competition matches on Saturday.

The Blue Boars’ second grade side went down 34-20 to remain in fifth place.

It is still just two points outside the top four after Inverell was beaten on Saturday, however, fourth is as high as the Narrabri men can finish after first-placed Moree, second-placed Pirates and third-placed Gunnedah all picked up five points on Saturday to either stay or move more than 15 points clear of the Blue Boars.

In the women’s competition, the Narrabri side lost 58-20 against the Pirates as the Tamworth ladies moved eight points clear of second-placed Narrabri at the top of the table with three rounds remaining.

Narrabri has a bye this weekend in the women’s competition but will line up in first and second grade away from home against Walcha.

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