The first round of Football Far North Coast’s preseason competitions, the Anzac Cup and Callan McMillan Shield, produced a mixed bag of results for the Great Northern/Rails Hotels Rams and Wildcats.
With so many familiar faces and new recruits lining up to play for Byron, the Club has entered four teams in this year’s Cup – one in the Premier Division, two in the Open A competition and the Wildcats womens team in the B Division of the Callan Macmillan Shield.
The weekend’s opening round saw the return of many Byron regulars and the debut of some talented new signings.
Byron’s Wildcats women’s team hit the ground running with a resounding 8–1 win over Lismore’s Rovers Rangers.
The Open A – Pool A Rams had a strong opener, but went down 1–0 to a more seasoned Ballina crew. The Open A – Pool C boys copped a bit of a hiding with a 7–1 loss to a strong Lismore Thistles.
The Great Northern Premier Rams lined up with a mix of seasoned Byron campaigners and new signings for 2016. While the team is obviously still in its ‘settling in’ phase, they did play simple and creative football and out-classed a newly rebuilt Italo Stars 3–1.
Stars opened the scoring with a superbly taken free kick to take an early lead. Byron stalwart Jonathan Pierce opened the scoring for the Rams moments later to level the score at 1–1.
While the experience and cohesion of the Rams regulars was clear, Byron’s newbies also acquitted themselves well. Chris Watts pounced when the Stars’ keeper spilled a power drive from Tyson Kaye and drove home his first goal for the Rams and debutante Quinn McDonald blasted home his first with a cracking strike from 30 metres out.
The next round has the Prems at home in Ewingsdale on Sunday at 4.30pm against Lennox Head.
The Wildcats take on Tintenbar/East Ballina in East Ballina at 2.30. The Open A, Pool A Rams meet Richmond Rovers in Lismore at 4.30 while the Pool C boys are off to Nimbin for a 2.30 kick-off.