Local derby fires up
BYRON derbies that see Byron Bay Rams versus the Bangalow Bluedogs, are usually among the more intense clashes of the football season.
Round one of the 2018 football competition was no exception.
In a fiery re-run of the 2017 Grand Final defending Champions Byron Bay faced a relentless battering from a determined Bangalow pack.
Byron Reserve Grade opened proceedings by getting the best of their Doggy counterparts. Goals from Kare Isaac and Ethan Archer delivered a solid 2-0 win.
The Rams top squad had their hands full in the main event, with the Bluedogs keeping the new look squad on the back foot for much of the match.
Despite the ferocity of the Dogs attack, the Rams managed to gain the advantage through counter attacks. Jono Pierce opened the Rams account just before half time, breaking away from the defence to make it 1-0.
The second half was even tougher than the first, with Byron on the attack from the opening whistle and the Dogs fighting back hard. One minute into the second session, new recruit Matt Pike beat the keeper to put the Rams two ahead. Five minutes in and with temperatures rising, some exuberant defence from James Tomlinson handed a penalty to the Bangalow boys.
With the score now at 2-1 and Bangalow hoping for a comeback, the game became a little scrappy and tempers frayed. A retaliation offence saw a red card delivered and Byron, with echoes of the Grand Final, had battle on with 10 men.
The Rams held on against the fired up Dogs and prodigal striker Baitok Ring celebrated his return to the Byron flock by threading his way through the Bangalow defenders and driving home goal three for the Rams. Byron 3, Bangalow 1.
Byron and the Bluedogs do it all again on Tuesday, April 17, at the Rec Grounds in the first semi final of the Anzac Cup. Kick off is at 7pm.
Round 2 of the general competition sees the Rams visit coastal neighbours Lennox Head next Saturday, April 14 at Skennars Head. Reserves kick off at 1pm and the Prems at 3pm.