Byron Bay rugby lose first game but still claim minor premiership

The Bangalow Rebels rugby union team beat competition favourites Byron Bay to secure a ‘fantastic win’ in front of a home crowd enjoying Sponsors and Family Day on Saturday.

Byron were beaten 27–22 in their first loss of the season.

‘It was a fantastic game. Bangalow was strong and determined in the first half and had Byron on the back foot the whole time,’ club president Dave Phillips said.

They scored 27 unanswered points but began to tire in the second half after fielding players who also ran around in reserves.

Byron fought back and got within five points but just couldn’t get the last try despite building pressure.

‘We had to hold them out and we did,’ he said.

‘Bangalow played very well; they outplayed us in the first half,’ Byron’s Jack Cooke said.

‘The week before Byron had beaten Southern Cross University giving them the Minor Premiership, and the loss to Bangalow didn’t change that,’ he said.

‘We are still at the top of the table. We can’t be caught.’

The loss ‘could be a blessing in disguise, allowing the team to concentrate on the Grand Final rather than on going undefeated through the regular season,’ he said.

For the Rebels, who are in fifth place on the ladder and will play their last game of the season this weekend, the match-up against local rivals Byron was like ‘our grand final’, Phillips said.

The team had put together some good rugby during the year but wasn’t able to maintain consistency.

As part of Bangalow Sponsors and Family Day the under-8s played a game against the Golden Oldies.

‘We are trying to build a cradle-to-grave club,’ he said.

Australian Veteran Mark Ella will be part of a sport lunch on 19 August hosted by team sponsors the Bangalow Hotel.

Byron play their last regular season game at home this Saturday, while Bangalow play away to Lennox Head.

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