Story & photos Greg Meek
It’s always a fast, fiery and physical clash when Byron Bay’s Park Hotel Rams meet their Bangalow rivals the Bluedogs in a local derby. Last Sunday’s second round of the 2014 Anzac Cup in Bangalow was no exception.
The Bangalow Bluedogs seemed particularly fired up for this match and took the fight right up to the Rams from the kick-off.
Bangalow opened the scoring in the first half and, with confidence boosted, kept hammering the Byron defence.
Byron fought back strongly as the new Rams’ lineup began to find its rhythm and flow. An equaliser from Kazuhiro Tsukamoto took some of the wind out of Bangalow’s sails as Byron piled on the pressure.
Numerous warnings, a couple of yellow cards and, finally, a red were testament to Bangalow’s frustration and, as they began to growl at each other, the Bluedogs’ game began to disintegrate.
The Rams were quick to pounce on the Dogs’ disunity and, despite plenty of missed opportunities, managed another two goals from recruit Connor Cannon and one from another new boy, Dakota Dixon-King.
Byron kept up the heat right to the whistle and the final 4-1 scoreline could have been much worse for the Bluedogs.
After a couple of trials and two competitive rounds, the Rams are beginning to gel as a cohesive unit and look promising for the coming season. Players new and old worked well together with great performances from Shaun Packham, Herick Schuenemann, Tane Meek, George Martin and Connor Cannon.
Next Sunday sees the Rams return to the Ewingsdale Ground for a 4.30pm kick off against Goonellabah.