Story & photos Dogwhistle
Saturday’s final round of the Football Far North Coast Premier League competition saw reigning poinstcore champions, the Northern Hotel Byron Bay Rams, finish the season with a comfortable 1–0 victory over Alstonville.
The Byron Bay squad has led the field for the entire season and finished the competition seven points clear at the top of the table.
Not so fortunate were the Reserve Grade Rams who, despite an emphatic 5–0 win over ’Villa’s reserves, had to settle for second spot after last week’s loss to Rovers.
With a number of players being rested for the finals series, Saturday’s squad was very lean and many of the Reserves squad pulled double shifts in the Prems.
The Reserves overcame the slippery conditions to completely dominate their Alstonville hosts. Conor Cannon opened the scoring just four minutes in off a cross from Will Ennis.
Seven minutes later a cross from Tai Flanagan found Ennis up front, who finished cleanly to make it 2–0. Moments later, Herick Schuenemann flew high above the pack to head in a sweetly delivered corner from Cannon.
With the lead well established and the Alstonville side looking demoralised, coach Jeremy began rotating his players to conserve his resources for the Premiers match.
Minutes into the second half, a scrappy goalmouth skirmish had the ball bouncing from player to post and was finally resolved with another goal-scoring header from Schuenemann taking the lead to 4–0. A Villa handball in the final quarter gave Byron a free kick from just outside the box.
Steve Kirkpatrick made no mistake and the match finished with the Rams Reserves five goals up.
In the Premiers match, the Rams faced a tough young Alstonville side that was eager to take some points from the champions.
With half of the Reserves backing up for the Prems, and many of the regular top side resting up, the Rams had a battle on their hands.
While they had the upper hand throughout, much of the match was spent in gritty midfield battles punctuated by attacking breaks from the Rams.
The tedium was finally broken when speedster Tyson Kaye broke away from the pack, sprinted from the halfway and slipped a ball past the keeper to give Byron the lead.
A penalty to Alstonville in the dying moments looked like taking a point from the Rams but a brilliant save from keeper Chris Jones preserved the win for the Rams.
As Pointscore Champions, the Prems now have a week off while the Reserves play their first semifinal against third-placed rival, Lismore Thistles, at the Rec Grounds this Sunday at 2.30.