The top five contenders were looking for a strong win last weekend as the race for this year’s Football Far North Coast Premier League honours hots up.
A draw between ladder leaders Goonellabah and fourth-placed Bangalow tightened the competition and meant the Northern Hotel Rams were once again within striking distance of the Minor Premiership title.
The Rams’ Reserves opened Sunday’s proceedings with yet another huge win over Lismore’s Italo Stars. Four goals to Byron’s own star striker, Will Ennis, three to Tomás Do Prado Coelho and an own goal from Italo took the boys to an eight-goal victory and a total of 85 goals for the season to date.
The Ressies still share the top of the table with Richmond Rovers with a goal difference lead of 28.
The match was not so easy for the Premier League Rams, with the bottom-of-the-ladder Lismore crew putting in a gritty performance against the reigning champs. Despite the Rams’ overwhelming lineup of talent, the underdog Stars held the Rams to 0–0 scoreline into the break.
Repeated attacking moves from Golden Boot leader Aaron Walker, midfielders Lachie Dewar, Quinn McDonald and veteran Sam Owens bore no fruit for Byron until the opening minutes of the second session when Owens put the spill from a goalmouth skirmish back into the box and found the head of Dewar.
Italo fought back strongly but as fatigue and the relentless pressure from the Rams began to take their toll, the contest began to get a little ragged.
Finally, an Aaron Walker rush on goal was impeded by the Stars’ keeper and Walker buried the resulting penalty to lock in a 2–0 Rams win.
With just three rounds remaining, the Byron Prems still share second spot with arch rivals Rovers, six points adrift on goal difference.
Byron’s chance to challenge for the lead comes this Saturday when the Rams take on Goonellabah in Lismore. The Reserves kick off at 1pm and the Prems at 3pm.
Women take first premiership win on a mixed weekend
It was a big weekend for the Byron Bay Rams Women’s team who collected their first premiership win over Lennox Heads on Friday night, but also lost to Alstonville on ‘tired legs’ on Sunday.
The win for the Rams was even more special considering they were well-beaten 9-0 by the Lennox Head team in their previous meeting earlier in the month, team co-ordinator John McKay said.
The 2-1 victory came despite conceding the first goal of the match played in Byron Bay on Friday night.
Pride and skill soon kicked in and a very close to full-strength side showed what they were capable of.
‘The intent was there and the players were embarrassed by the score of the last game, they felt the need to atone,’ he said.
The team combined stoic defense and fluid, good-looking attack, he said.
The team had to back up against Alstonville on Sunday, to make up for their Splendour in the Grass bye from the previous week.
The double header was too much for the Byron Rams and despite leading 2-1 in the first half, the tired legs of the team, as well as the injury toll from Friday night took its toll and they ended up losing 4-2.
‘We just couldn’t sustain it in the second half,’ John said.
Prior to moving into the top-5 premiership rounds the Byron Women’s team had won all six of their games.