The Byron Rams have started the 2011 season with a bang.
The last three weeks have been quite frantic at the Byron Bay Football Club, with around 50 of the very best football players in the Byron Shire competing for a spot in the Rams’ Premier League squad.
New head coach John Sowter has been running the team through their paces and has found some real talent.
Thirty of the lads had a chance to showcase their game skills in two friendly games against the Tweed Valley Kings last Saturday.
The Kings play in the tough Gold Coast Premier League, so it was a great opportunity to gauge how the Byron Rams are shaping up.
In the first game, the young Reserves team started well and created plenty of opportunities.
For many of them, it was their very first taste of the men’s Premier League.
They went down 2-0 to a spirited Kings team.
However, overall the coaches were happy considering this configuration hadn’t played together before.
The standout Rams players were Brad Jones, Mav White and Lachlan Baynes in goals.
In top grade, the appreciative Rams fans were treated to the return from injury of dynamic midfielder Bruce Morehaus and 2009 Far North Coast Golden Boot Jordy Campbell, who played in Newcastle last season.
Both teams moved the ball forward down both flanks well, testing the defences in the first 15 minutes.
However, it was pure magic to watch Campbell muscle his way around two Kings defenders along their backline and score from an acute angle and take the lead.
The Kings ramped up the pressure in the hot conditions.
At the 36-minute mark, the Kings’ right winger took advantage of a beautiful through ball, made a lightning break along the touch line and sent a cross to Amardeep Ghooti, manoeuvring on the back post to even the score.
Sam Owens was in brilliant form and won Man of the Match, combining well with Morehaus to control the midfield.
Young defender Sam Robson was an inspiration in defence, combining beautifully with Ian Lennie, ‘the enforcer’, and Jonno Pierce, just back from injury.
In the first minute of the second half, Nolan Pierce sent a great pass through to Campbell who flicked it onto Tommy Ruhl to score and take the lead again.
It sent the Kings into shock and the Rams took control for the rest of the game.
Tim Knight was able to unleash his blinding pace to break the Kings backline at will and he was unlucky with several shots.
Halfway through the second half, Morehaus set up powerhouse Korhan Ozakman down the left wing.
He sent a beautiful cross to Campbell in front of goal and he made no mistake with a half-volley past the Kings keeper taking the score to 3-1.
Goalkeeper Layton Barton and his young brother Toby made their debut with the Rams after transferring from Alstonville Premiers.
In the final four minutes, Ozakman passed to Ruhl through the centre and he slammed the fourth goal into the net.
Not content with that, and with just two minutes to go, Ruhl made a single-handed assault on the Kings goal, slipping the ball past the exhausted keeper and claim his hat-trick and take the final score to 5-1.
Sowter was pleased with the Rams’ impressive first outing for the season.
“We had the ball going forward well, however, we’ve still got plenty of work to do over the next few weeks,” he said.
“We have arranged another pre-season game against Casino next Sunday at Byron, and the Whitsunday Miners will be travelling down from Mackay to play at Byron the following Sunday.
“It’ll give us more opportunity to get our positional combinations working well and make final player selections before the start of the pre-season Anzac Cup competition.”
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