THERE were mixed fortunes for the Northern Hotel Rams in Saturday's preliminary finals at the Byron Bay Rec Grounds.
The Reserve Grade Rams met a very determined Richmond Rovers in the opening match and were unlucky to concede first against the run of play. Rovers fired up at their early lead and fought hard to keep it for the remainder of the half.
A soaring header from Kazuhiro Tsukamoto early in the second half equalised for the Rams and Rovers were again under pressure.
A second Rovers goal inspired the Lismore boys to dig deep in the final 10 minutes and they carried their lead to the final whistle.
The Rams Reserves now need a win over Lismore Thistles at 3pm this Saturday at the Rec Grounds to make it to another Grand Final against Rovers.
The Premier Division Rams had what was widely described as an 'intense' battle with neighbours Bangalow in the main event of the day. In one of the Ram's toughest encounters this season, the Byron boys fought hard for the full 90 minutes to contain the passionate Bluedogs.
Gianluca Bongiovanni opened for the Rams 13 minutes in off a cross from Aaron Walker.
An equaliser in the final minute of the first half kept the Dogs fighting hard until Sam Owens got on the end of another delightful play from Aaron Walker and buried goal number two.
Another Walker cross in the final minutes found Joel Wood on point and sealed the win and a Grand Final berth for the Rams.
Bangalow will now face Rovers again this weekend to decide who will meet Byron on September 16 in the Grand Final in Lismore.
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