Byron Bay 0 v Ballina 6
It was another David and Goliath battle at Ballina Saunders Oval on Saturday, with Byron Bay Rams secure in third position on the Premier League Football table and Ballina desperate for their last chance to make the semi-final cut.
With a 2-all draw in their first-round encounter, the Rams were pumped for a form reversal after two poor performances in the last three weeks.
They trained very well during the week and it seemed they were back on track. However, speedy flankers John Bradbury and Tim Knight were sidelined, along with playmaker Jed Wright, Todd Knaus and Aaron Richter-Steers. So on paper they were hardly at full strength. However, they just were not prepared for the six-goal onslaught that was to follow.
The Rams can take some comfort from the fact the loss didn’t change their third position on the competition table and they will still be in the semi-finals looking for a grand final berth.
In an ironic twist to Ballina’s incredible fight to make the final series, a controversial technical forfeit by Lennox Head in another final-round match against Lismore Workers Club meant that Ballina missed out anyway.
The Rams’ Premiers will now take on Goonellabah in their first round semi-final. Some good news for Byron Bay came in the form of a Premier Reserves win over Ballina, also keeping them third on the competition ladder.
They will play Richmond Rovers in their first semi-final.
The struggling Bangalow Bluedogs Premier League squad earned a lifeline on Saturday with a 2-1 do-or-die win over Lismore Thistles.
The Bluedogs have had been facing an uncertain future over the past few weeks, fighting off relegation to 1st division. However, the win and Lennox Head’s technical forfeit on Saturday will keep them in the top grade for 2010.
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