Shoalhaven made their first win of the Illawarra rugby season an emphatic one, while Avondale and University consolidated their top two spots with crushing wins in Saturday’s abbreviated round.
Shoalies ended a six-game losing streak to start the season with a 52-0 home thumping of Bowral, which left Bowral (0-6) the only club without a win.
Shoalhaven raced in for eight tries, five from the forwards, with coach Phil Duncan pleased with his side’s defence.
‘‘It’s been a while coming but finally we’ve some reward for the hard work,’’ Duncan said.
‘‘It’s been tough getting the structures right, and some games haven’t been great spectacles but defensively we aimed up today and our pack laid the foundation.’’
Shoalies’ NSW Country prop James Smith made an important contribution in his first game back from rep duty, while No8 Ben Dennis was man of the match, with two tries.
Shoalhaven centre Matt Spresser and prop Kial Kilgallon also had big games.
Meanwhile, University made it five straight wins by belting fourth-placed Vikings 51-14 at Uni Oval.
The Mallee Bulls scored seven tries to two and led 51-7 midway through the second half in a performance to firmly remind rivals they are serious premiership contenders.
Five-eighth Leon Mason orchestrated some brilliant running rugby by the fleet-footed Uni backs, plus scored two tries himself.
With just three games during the weekend, Vikings remain in fourth spot but they have plenty of work to do if they are to trouble the top sides.
Finally, leaders Avondale consolidated an eight-point lead over Uni with a convincing 45-12 win over Kiama at Gerry Cappetta Oval.
Kiama coach Darryl Thomas said his side was punished for dropping too much ball.
‘‘They were too big and strong and with all the ball we gave them, they were always going to put 40 on us,’’ Thomas said.
‘‘Our effort was there but the execution, particularly ball control, was poor to say the least.’’
Premiers Camden, Shamrocks and Tech Waratahs had the weekend off.
This Saturday, Bowral host Tech-Waratahs, University are at home to Shoalhaven, Kiama host Vikings and fifth-placed Shamrocks are at home to Avondale.
Table: Avondale 36, University 28, Camden 21, Vikings 20, Shamrocks 18, Kiama 14, Tech Waratahs 10, Shoalhaven 8, Bowral 1.