It wasn't pretty, it wasn't necessarily a full 80 minutes of structured Cowra footy at its best, but the Magpies will nevertheless be relieved to have a win on the board after a 26-12 victory against a gallant Blayney on Sunday afternoon.
Breaking a five game losing streak, the Magpies had to grind their way through some patchy play that marred their first half, with the Bears putting up one of the strongest efforts for the year after a 68-0 loss to Mudgee the week prior.
While a minute's silence for recently passed Group 10 stalwarts Sid Kallas and Bill McKenna marked the pre-game acknowledgements, it was perhaps fitting that it didn't take long for some of the intensity that marked Cowra-Blayney contests of yesteryear to surface early in the match.
With the Magpies' backs against the wall after a early heavy hit to the recently returned Jeremy Gordon left the home crowd at Sid Kallas Oval collectively holding their breath, it was Blayney that drew first blood, with Robert Lane getting one over the line followed by a Stevie Lane conversion.
While Zac Browne made a run down the right wing in the 34th minute, even that was fraught, because even though Caley Mok made the first of three successful conversions for the day, Browne pulled up lam
The half-time break, with the game in the balance at 6-6, couldn't come quick enough.
Blayney, not for the first time this year, were threatening to cause a surprise upset, which if not a season-ender, would've had the 2018 runner-ups' year on life support.
With the Bears effectively playing for pride and Magpies playing to keep finals alive, the home side came out with far better intent early, quickly putting the contest to bed on the way to four second half tries.
More importantly, both Gordon and Browne played out the remainder of the game with little difficulty, though injuries to Ben Gunn and Will Ingram will concern the sixth placed side ahead of a do-or-die clash against St. Pat's next week.
Blayney, who were brave in defeat, kept battling, but couldn't compete with class and grunt that Cowra had on offer, with Joey Bugg and Claude Gordon controlling the halves clinically, while new recruit Brydon Ramien got over the line after threatening to break through on several occasions in the first half.
Coach Kurt Hancock said he was pleased to get the win, saying the effort from his group has been strong despite the results of the last few weeks.
"The commitment has been there all year and they've been training pretty well," he said.
He was also keen to praise Blayney's efforts, saying the noise coming from their travelling group made it clear that "they really turned up and played."
"You could tell by their supporters here that was the best effort they've given all year," with the coach adding that notwithstanding his side's first half penalties and errors there's still plenty to work with in final weeks of home and away fixturing.
"If we can tidy up them little things and take a bit of confidence out of this win, I'm pretty sure you can start to build a season again.
"We gotta pretty much keep winning to make the five and we know that.
"It's not beyond them. They're a pretty good footy team on paper, it's just a matter of relaxing and playing footy."
The coach also spotlighted the efforts of Brendan Tidswell.
"He played his first first-grade game for us today, for this year... I thought he was outstanding today... but, you know, he was the guy that was here for three grades, ran the water before first grade...
"That epitomises what sort of a bloke he is... Congratulations to him and I'm glad we got the win for him."
- COWRA MAGPIES 26 (Tries: Zac Browne 2, Claude Gordon, Lee McClintock, Brydon Ramien. Goals: Caley Mok 3) def BLAYNEY BEARS 12 (Tries: Robert Lane, Stevie Lane. Goals: Stevie Lane 2)