Byron Bay rugby has scored a dominant 20–5 win against Casino last Saturday. After six rounds the Bay surprisingly sits third on the First Grade ladder behind heavyweights Lennox Head and Lismore.
Byron shook off the effects of a long bus trip with a blistering start to the game. Matt Larsson won the ball off the kick-off and back row partner Pat Hutchinson stepped his way into the Casino red zone. The Bay forwards then set a perfect platform for front-rower Craig Wallace to crash over the line.
Byron’s backline relished the space and momentum created by their forwards; halfback Jack Dickson was a constant threat and No 10 Jass Saeck directed play with growing confidence. The visitors added two more tries through Dickson and Josh Smith before halftime but the Bay should have more than doubled that tally. Twice the ball was dropped by players unmarked close to the line and careless finishing was the only thing keeping the home side in the contest.
As rain swept across picturesque Don Gully Oval the second half meandered into the darkness. Byron made a number of substitutions and lost their shape and structure against a team content to spoil. Larsson capped a quality performance with a second-half try to give the Bay an all-important bonus point.
The whole team was sound in the first half but the plaudits go to Byron’s invincible captain Pete Shaw. A back-rower playing in the second row, Shaw was asked in the warmup to play hooker against the much bigger Casino pack. He answered, ‘I’ll have a crack’, and went on to dominate his opposing front row.
Larsson and Wallace were outstanding while Smith and Dickson continued their career best form. In an ominous sign for opposition packs, charismatic forward Jamie Blair seems on the edge of full fitness.
The always reliable Tom Homer was technically excellent. Centre pairing Harry Nutall and George Kitching pilfered at every opportunity.
Byron Bay returns to the Recreation Fields this Saturday to host Grafton. Kick-off is 3.30pm. Admission is free and a big turnout is expected as the Bay seeks to add another scalp in their return season in First Grade.