NSW Rugby Union Country Championship on the weekend with the Far North Coast (FNC) representative team making the long trip to compete in the two-day carnival.
Byron Bay had a strong showing with five of our players – Aaron Shakeshaft, Craig Wallace, Sion King, Harvey Bell and Charles Woollard – all seeing plenty of game time over the weekend.
The team was coached by our own Paul Jeffery, who had the difficult task of trying to tame and lead a group of players who are usually foes in the local derbies but come together to represent the far north coast for the Country Champs.
The first game was played on Saturday morning against the Mid North Coast Zone team in cold, extremely muddy conditions; however the FNC was able to overcome both the weather and their opposition to kick off their campaign in emphatic fashion.
The win gave the boys a shot at making the finals the following day, but standing in their way was an in-form Central North outfit.
The wet conditions meant the game was played in close quarters with both forward packs scrambling for precious metres. Despite some lengthy phases and strong attacking manoeuvres from our boys, neither side was able to break the deadlock and by the final whistle the scores remained at 0–0.
To determine who would progress through to the finals the outcome of the game was decided via a toss of the coin, with the FNC side cruelly losing in the unluckiest of ways
The ‘loss’ put our team in a playoff for third position against Western Plains, which was played in atrocious conditions. Attacking flair but an even stronger defensive effort resulted in a comprehensive 20–0 victory for FNC, securing third position for the championship. To highlight the impressive performance from the boys, in three games our side went undefeated (on the field) and only conceded the one try.
The pick of the players over the entire weekend were Grant Knight, Harry Witt and Harvey Bell. Harvey’s strong showing has brought him into contention for selection in the NSW Country Squad.
The good news for Byron supporters, rugby enthusiasts and locals alike is that Byron Bay hosts the Casino Bulls this coming Saturday 9 May at the Byron Rec Fields.
The Bay has had a strong start to the season and is currently sitting third on the table. The team continues to grow and with the arrival of our new prop, Jack Elborn, the forward pack is looking even stronger.
So for a fun afternoon of rugby, sunshine (hopefully), cold beverages and community spirit come down and support our local lads as we take on Casino this Saturday – kick-off is 3.20pm.
Go The Bay!