by Rory Hession
RUGBY UNION: Three tough weeks for the Echidnas recorded no wins on the scoreboard but with a home game against UQ Gatton for round seven things looked hopeful for a turnaround.
The Echidnas wasted no time in reminding the opposition why their home ground, dubbed "the ants' nest,” was a fortress, seizing the initiative to put pressure on a dazed UQ Gatton outfit.
A penalty came not long after, allowing the Echidnas to put three up on the board and take the lead.
Poor ball control from UQ gave the initiative back to the Echidnas, as some great ball control and security at the breakdown put them into an attacking position on the 5m line.
Points came not long after as a dominant set-piece scrum set up an opportunity on the left wing for number 11 to step his way through.
After weeks of a below-average kicking game, the Echidnas seemed to be making amends as they sent the conversion through the posts from out wide to notch seven up on the board.
UQ weren't rookies however and reacted quickly from the initial shock and awe of the Echidnas' assault to thread a perfectly waited pass to create an overlap and five points to the right of the post.
With a scoreline of 10-5 things looked to be evening up as contact intensified and opportunities for the Echidnas seemed to go begging, until a line out onthe UQ 30m line broke thedeadlock.
In a perfectly executed move, the Echidnas hooker was passed back the ball after the throw and charged the right wing, running over a UQ defender to score a try after a 30m dash.
As a scoreline of 15-5 sat on the ants' nest scoreboard, both teams headed into the sheds before a frenetic second half resumed.
The UQ team that came out in the second half was an entirely different outfit to that in the first and their ferocity off the kick-off had the Echidnas stunned.
UQ began to run in tries over the park as a tiring Echidnas pack tried to stem the assault by tightening up their engagement at the breakdown and slow down UQ's ball.
The Echidnas were no slouches however and a few perfectly executed back-line plays stung the UQ defence and produced points on the board.
In one of the most entertaining matches of the season thus far, both UQ and the Echidnas were locked in a tight struggle to produce the final push needed to close out the opposition.
In the end it was UQ Gatton that prevailed, holding off the Echidnas to take out a well-fought 31-27 victory.
Despite the loss the Echidnas have a number of positive points moving into two weeks of byes before matches resume.