The Byron Bay Rugby Union team song was sung loud and proud last Saturday as the boys in blue and white managed a rare win against Lismore City.
The Bay had the arduous task of travelling to Lismore to face the boys in green, which is no easy feat.
Team historian and local legend Michael ‘Wombat’ Leece has been quoted as saying that only once in the club’s glorious 33-year history has a travelling Byron Bay First Grade team managed to beat Lismore in their arena.
Byron Bay was coming off the back of their third win in a row and they carried this momentum through to kick-off as the Bay mounted pressure on Lismore from the get-go.
Byron’s big forward pack ensured clean ball for the starting halves combination of Luc Boyer and Sion King and they responded strongly with some fast ball movement to our centre pairing of Chris Ealey and Jascha Saeck, who were looking dangerous on the outside flanks.
Insert some fast footwork and strong support work from Harvey Bell and the Bay took first blood within the opening 10 minutes with a try to Harvey in the corner.
As is always the case against Lismore, any opposing side chasing the win is forced to play hard, structured rugby with Lismore looking to punish any slow play and take advantage of any mistakes.
On a number of occasions early on Lismore were able to burst through the Byron defence and pressure their try line, but the Bay responded in emphatic fashion by denying any challenge that came their way.
Some solid counter-attacking rugby and strong running from Byron’s Craig Wallace and Aaron Shakeshaft gave the Bay some good field position in which they capitalised through their Kiwi charger and Number 8 Michael Karl, who crossed the line to the familiar cry of ‘score Mikey!’ Sustained attacking pressure and strong work from the forwards saw the Bay grab another try before half time with Troy Wynter crossing the line and Sion King converting his third kick in a row to put the visitors up 21–0 at half time.
The second half started very much the same as the first ended with the big Byron forward pack winning the fight for metres through the centre of the pitch.
Byron’s scrum, led by Jack Elborn and Charles Woollard, was a thing of beauty and had the Lismore pack struggling to maintain forward momentum. It was the hard work from the Bay’s forwards that allowed the backs freedom to move out wide leading to another try to Harvey and a further two tries to Mikey Karl, who bagged a hat-trick for the game.
An incredibly rare sight for the Bay was off the field, where eight reserves sat impatiently on the bench awaiting a call up.
The tough conditions resulted in some fresh legs taking the field and it didn’t take long for both Josh Smith and Eddie O’Hare to impose themselves onto the game and ruffle the Lismore pack.
Some individual brilliance from Eddie had the Byron crowd on its feet and when the Bay’s big winger Nick Fischer went on a rampaging run to finish agonisingly short of the line, Brandon Lewsey playing at fly half charged across the line for a try that was reminiscent of a prop crashing over for a five pointer.
As the final whistle was blown a jubilant Byron team and their supporters celebrated the 47–0 win over Lismore City.
Coach Paul Jeffery was ecstatic with the performance from all the players, naming best on field as Craig Wallace, with honourable mentions given to Mikey, Will, Jack and Troy.
The Bay has their biggest test of the season this week taking on the reigning Premiers Wollongbar–Alstonville at home.
This is a big game for our boys so as always all the players would really love the local support, so please come on down to the Byron Rec Fields this coming Saturday 30 May wearing your blue and white for a 3.30pm kick-off. Food, drink and entertaining rugby is provided so just bring yourself, partners and/or friends for a fun Saturday afternoon.
Go The Bay!