Byron Bay sit on top of the ladder by 9 points at the mid-season mark.
Byron Bay Rugby traveled to Albert Park, Casino on Saturday to play against 7th place Casino Bulls RUFC. After the bus trip, Byron Bay were keen to get underway to complete round of fixtures this season, with the exception of the rescheduled round 6 fixture against Bangalow.
Byron Bay experienced a couple of late changes to the starting line up with Andy Teuma replacing Luke Philip in the pack and Christian Rossi stepping in for James Boozer who pulled a groin muscle in the warm-up.
Byron Bay Rugby started strong with hot-stepper Will Aisake showing his running power early on after a darting run which ended in touch. The Byron Bay pack showed it’s dominance with some strong driving from the scrums and mauls. A few minutes in and Byron had their first attempt at the line with a driving maul from a line-out, youngster Jem Macdonald diving over the line but unfortunately not given due to Casino Bulls not committing to the maul.
It didn’t take long for Byron Bay to score though with Jack Cooke crashing over after quick play from the ruck 5 metres out. John Laughlin converting the points.
Captain Jascha Saeck who had dropped to fullback for the away fixture showed his pace and skill by sprinting to the line on 2 occasions in the first half, evading the defence with quick footwork. A fantastic performance that earned Saeck Player of the Match.
No8 Cooke added another try, giving the visitors a bonus point in the first half. Cooke now tops the try scoring tally, bringing his figure to 12 this season.
The second half saw Paul Jeffery putting his replacements to good use bringing on Ed O’Hare, his first appearance for the Bay since Round 2 and Bernhard Clementi to bring fresh legs to the back row. Sean Nicholl replaced Kyle Bindon in the backs, Switching with Laughlin & flyhalf Owain Roberts.Startling runs from replacement centre Sean Nicholl showed his patience in choosing his lines with a number of breaks resulting in a try for the American.
Nicholl was involved in the next try with a well-headline to pop the ball to Montgomery who put
Laughlin into the corner. The Irishman adding 2 further points.
Solid defending from Byron Bay kept Casino pinned back in their own half, with Jeffery bolstering the defence with more fresh legs
James Oakley returned for Byron Bay in the last 20 after a groin injury, proving himself as an elusive runner with great footwork and pace. Oakley added an extra step up for the back line linking up well with the Centres.
Laughlin returned the favour to his Irish counterpart Montgomery into the final quarter after a darting run down the 15 metre line before straightening and a perfectly timed pass whilst against Casinos fullback put Montgomery over the line.
Byron Bay were not done yet with Scrum Half Harold Chiffoleau scoring the final try after he caught the Casino defence napping with a dummy and dived over the line by the posts to secure another 8 try win from Byron Bay.
Sat 18th June
Casino Bulls 0 – 52 Byron Bay Rugby
Tries; Cooke 2, Saeck 2, Chiffoleau, Laughlin, Montgomery, Nicholl
Cons; Laughlin 6
In other results around the Zone, Lismore drew to Southern Cross Uni in the Lismore City derby 20-20,
Bangalow RUFC were defeated by Lennox Head Trojans 31-17, the Rebels third straight loss and a battle between Wollongbar-Alstonville Pioneers and Ballina RUFC resulting in Ballina defeating the Pioneers 28-20 at Lyle Park.