A hard fought match, but a great day and all in aid of an even greater cause #BigThingsForBrainCancer.
Byron Bay held their charity day this weekend with all proceeds going towards #BigThingsForBrainCancer, it was a big day for the club as Byron also looked to keep their unbeaten streak going against the Lennox Head Trojans in what was Byron’s first home game since their 3rd round win against Wollongbar. With plenty of food and charity events going on around the pitch it all add to the occasion.
Byron settled into the game very quickly with the pack showing their dominance from the first whistle, it looked like Byron were out to make a statement on their home turf for the charity event. From a well worked lineout the Byron pack set up a strong maul and started to move towards the opposition line, but broke down just short. A series tight phases from the home team led to flanker Craig Wallace forcing his way over the line taking a few Lennox Head players with him. With normal kicker John Laughlin on the bench winger Christian Rossi stepped up to the mark for what was a difficult kick, and proved too difficult for Rossi who didn’t quite have the length,
Byron were quick to make inroads again from the kick off with Sean Nicholl running hard at the Lennox defence, the big American centre has been proving a handful for defences this year and this match was no exception. After series of well worked phases Byron winger James Oakley cut a fantastic line which left the Lennox defence flat footed as he sailed through. The Lennox full back made a good effort to come across and cover, but with Owain Roberts hot on Oakley’s heels a simple pass put Roberts in under the posts. Roberts then took over the kicking responsibilities and converted his own try with ease giving Byron and 14-0 lead.
Lennox looking to get back into the game were attacking hard and playing well, but when the Lennox full back Adam Gordon was unable to regather his own chip and chase it all bubbled over. Gordon proceeded to let his emotions get the most of him as he lost his temper and started to swing for anyone in the area, both teams tried to give the player space but after he connected with three separate Byron players, splitting open the eye of Byron second rower Miles Wood in the process both teams tried to restrain him. The referee however had seen enough by this stage and saw fit to send him for an early shower with a red card.
The red card seemed to rally the Lennox Head Trojans who really kicked into gear and started playing some very attacking rugby. Lennox five-eight Billy Goldsmith attacked the line well and was releasing the Lennox backline with positive results. While Lennox no.8 Hamish Holbrook was marshalling the forwards around the park and really challenging the defence with hard carries and good off-loads. It was a matter of time till they got some reward. After good play put them in an attacking position within the Byron half, a well-placed grubber kick was chased well and Byron winger Oakley was certain he beat his opposite man to the ball, but the referee wasn’t so sure and awarded the try.
12-5 to Byron at halftime
It was Lennox again who kept pushing hard in the second half and were rewarded again as a series of good attacking phases was finished by a cut out pass to the wing, which was well finished as a Byron defence struggled to make the tackle. Again failing to add the additional points the score was tight at 12-10 to Byron. The match was kept tight at this score line for the bulk of the second half with both teams trading blows, but both failing to finish good chances. It wasn’t till the last 10 minutes that the Byron side decided to play more directly and start to push the Lennox side defensively. Again it was the strong Byron set piece that saw the home side benefit. The Byron scrum has been solid this year and credit must go to the front row forwards with Huw Owen, Connor Newton, Matt Lund dominating the set piece and Byron were able to push a scrum over from 5m out with no.8 Jack Cooke dotting down the ball, for a well-deserved forwards try. Laughlin then added the points and put the home team 9 points clear with minutes on the clock.
One last big effort from Byron hunting a bonus point came from Scrum half for the day, Josh Smith who was deemed by the referee to have been held up over the line after consulting with his touch judge. The Byron scrum was not given the chance to show its dominance one more time as the full time whistle was blown. Final score Byron 19 – Lennox 10, but absolutely nothing can be taken away from Lennox who played a fantastic game of rugby with 14, men for the majority of the match
Throughout the day there were cake stands and charity stands to help support #BigThingsForBrainCancer. Shortly after the match was the auction of the limited edition charity day Jerseys, which turned out to be an incredibly successful event for a fantastic cause, with the jerseys being auctioned off for great prices. A special mention must go to centre Shaun Nicholl whose jersey was sold to his girlfriend for the highest price of the day. Saturday was not only a fun day with a great atmosphere, but also a successful day with the club raising $7,774 in aid of brain cancer. If anyone was unable to attend but would still like to contribute please feel free to donate on the just giving page for #BigThingsForBrainCancer