Story & photos Eve Jeffery
It was a cool 18 degrees at Kingsford Smith Park in Ballina last night when the Seagulls and the Ghosts took to the field to play the Round 11 catch-up game.
The reggies worked hard but the home side won through with a 34–32 victory over the visitors with the hope that is was an augury for the main event.
Fifteen minutes in Ballina’s Brian Kelly broke the ice and the unconverted try put four points on the board.
Grafton soon responded and better aim from Ryan Danvers saw the conversion put the Ghosts ahead by two. Though Ballina seemed to be outrunning Grafton, the scoreboard wasn’t echoing their effort.
A few minutes into second term Brian Kelly again hit ball to earth and less than two minutes later Clarence Kelly took an opportunistic run from a fumbled ball and crossed the line, bringing the score to 14–6 Ballina’s way.
Buoyed by his efforts, it wasn’t long before Clarence grabbed another opportunity and ran over sixty metres to find the line under the increasingly frustrated eyes of the Grafton crew.
It was about here that things got testy. The rain fell and things got a little more testy, but a few well-timed words from the ref, along with heaven’s sprinkle, cooled the game and both sides got back to work.
With 20 minutes to go, Grafton winger Joel Moss intercepted a pass and ran pretty much the length of the field for a try and a conversion, but a penalty goal soon after sealed his team’s fate and it wasn’t long before the siren screamed a 20–12 victory for the Seagulls.
Ballina have secured their ladder position with the win and are sitting pretty for their berth in the finals series – it’s not long now, folks; get your finals vocal cords warmed.