Depleted Red Devils staved off by Papists

Sunday’s 16–14 loss to Marist Brothers in round eight of the NRRRL might ironically have provided Byron Bay with more positives than you’d normally expect from a defeat.

It was a tough encounter that saw the lead change hands a few times before the home side was able to snatch the victory with a try in the corner as full time loomed. For Byron, who had battled so hard, it was a bitter pill, but given that at least seven regular first-graders were missing from the side, the effort was more than commendable.

With the battle-hardened old-heads missing, the club’s young Turks were given their opportunity and, to a man – Lachlan ‘Corporal’ Jones, Sam ‘Dolly’ Dwyer, Fraser ‘Fletcher’ Jones and William ‘Peppi’ Goldsmith – they didn’t take a backward step in the physical and psychological turmoil of playing with the big boys. Even the likes of Wally ‘Prince’ Andrews, who had already made his usual hard yards with the reggies, put his hand up to be counted. (Wally is the Bay’s resident Nathan Hindmarsh clone, not because he makes 250 tackles in forty minutes, but because he never fails to give the mob a look at his bumcrack as his strides make their inevitable slide towards his ankles. We love him.)

The Bay always looked to have the skill factor working for them, and it was exemplified when centre Chris ‘BB’ King chipped inside his own half and, defying all the laws of physics and gravity, collected the ball at his toes while flying at full tilt and went steaming for the line. Lanky James ‘Mook’ Harrington got it across the chalk in the next set to put the Devils ahead 6–0.

It was a classic war of attrition as the rumble continued for the next hour. When Hemi ‘Sphere’ Mullen, backing up from rep duty the day before, bulldozed over in the second half to put Byron ahead 14–12 it appeared that an unlikely two points would be snatched by the Devils… but fate, and the ref’s whistle, is a cruel mistress.

No footy next weekend, as we celebrate [sic] our foreign head of state’s birthday (which is not even her birthday anyway), but on Sunday, June 15, the Devils are at home to the high-flying Casino Cougars. It should be an absolute ball-tearer – one not to be missed.

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