Story & photo Dogwhistle
The young Byron Bay Wildcats girls came up against another highly experienced opponent on Friday evening when they took on a Lennox Head squad bristling with talented prems players in round six of this year’s Summer Youth League.
Despite being out-gunned, the Wildcats were competitive for portions of the game. The Lennox girls punished them whenever they backed off the pace. The young Wildcats are still on a steep learning curve but are gaining valuable experience and strength that will hold them in good stead for next season. The Lennox girls despite a good, solid performance from the Wildcats, took out the match 6–0.
The SAE-Qantm Rams took to the pitch shy a few key players against undefeated table-leaders, Lennox Head. Defying their underdog status, the Byron boys took the upper hand early, with some tasty combinations and a great run from John Manta putting Byron on the board ten minutes into the first half.
The young Rams kept the pressure on the defending champions and, with ten minutes to the break, Eli Sthapit took advantage of a confused Lennox defence and calmly chipped the keeper for goal number two.
Lennox came out firing for the second half with ‘footballers sans frontiéres’, brothers Toby and Layton Barton, determined to keep their undefeated record intact. The young Rams valiantly defended their lead, turning back the relentless Lennox attack over and again.
As the second half battle ground on and the pace began to tell on young legs, the Bartons piled on the pressure. With ten minutes remaining, Toby Barton took back a goal for Lennox and, just two minutes later, brother Layton bagged the equaliser. In the dying moments, Layton Barton took his second goal and clinched the match for Lennox.
For the third week running, the Rams had conceded heart-breaking goals to lose the lead – and the winner’s three points – in the dying moments.
This Friday sees the Wildcats with a night off thanks to a bye, while the boys enjoy an early 7pm kick-off against Goonellabah at the Cavanbah Centre in Ewingsdale.