Byron Bay Rugby shine in season opener against Lismore City RFC
Last Saturday Byron Bay Rugby opened their 2016 campaign in style at the Recreation Grounds. In front of a crowd of 200 the Blue & White started the day with a minute silence to remember those fallen and to remember two Far North Coast Referees who had passed away before the season start.
After a humble open, Byron Bay were keen to get going with an excitable energy about the ground. It didn’t take long for the ‘Bay’ to cross the whitewash. With a kick into Lismores 22 touchline, a perfected throw in the line-out by Josh Smith started the rolling maul toward the try line led by newcomer Jack Cooke leading them forward with Craig Wallace hanging off the back of the maul to score over the line.
Bad discipline and frustration led to Lismore being reduced to 14 men with their number 13 being sin-binned for repeatedly being offside around the breakdown, slowing down Byron Bays pace.
Byron Bay capitalised on the reduction of men for the opposition scoring twice in the 10 minute period.
Byron Bay’s dominance didn’t stop there with first-half tries from Romey Vassell, Jack Cooke, Christian Rossi, Darrell Montgomery and a second from Wallace. Taking Byron Bay into the sheds 38-0 at halftime.
Coach Paul Jeffrey was keen to get all of his players a run on and 3 changes came at half time. With a strong bench itching to get on the replacements didn’t disappoint.
The pressure didn’t ease off for Lismore who started the second half on the back foot with more dominance from the Blue & White. More tries came in the second half and fantastic kicking from new Fly Half John Laughlin who was safe with the boot, scoring 7 conversions. Wallace scored his third to complete his hat-trick of tries, with Jack Cooke seizing opportunity at the breakdown to grab his second. Captain Jascha Saeck started his season on the scoreboard after a great 2015 season.
Lismore scored a consolation try midway through the second half getting up from zero but didn’t do much to resist the ‘Bay’. Shortly after James Oakley came up to the attacking line to straighten and zig-zag his way through the Lismore backline before diving under the posts for a fantastic solo try.
A strong finish with tries from Ed O’Hare and a second from Montgomery ensured Byron Bay finished the game off with style. With 6 tries to the forwards and 6 to the backs, it’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the season goes with a varied strike force on board for Byron Bay.
Head Coach Paul Jeffrey was ‘obviously pleased’ with the result.
“It’s great to start the season with a win!” He said. “But the most pleasing aspect was that the guys finished the game smiling, a perfect start in my book.”
Club President Tim Ahern was ecstatic with the opening day of the season. “[I’m] Over the moon with the local support” He said. “A big thank you to all who came down and to the volunteers who helped on the day, making it a great success”
“[Byron Bay Rugby] are very happy for the Team and Coach Paul Jeffrey after such a great to the season” Ahern finished.
Byron Bay go into Round 2 second place on the ladder after points difference behind current champions Wollongbar-Alstonville Pioneers, with their next game on Sat 30th April away to Ballina Rugby Club who will be looking to get a win under their belt after defeat in Round 1.
Byron Bay Rugby 74 – Lismore City RFC 7 (HT 38-0)
Tries: Wallace 3, Cooke 2, Montgomery 2, O’Hare, Vassell, Rossi, Saeck, Oakley
Conversions: Laughlin 7