The Mullumbimby Giants Rugby Club managed to host a series of preseason games on Saturday, including a combined Byron Shire squad, as many other clubs across the Far North Coast Zone were cancelled because of the wet weather.
The Gold Coast Eagles, Sunshine Coast and Uni rugby clubs made the journey down through the rain to play Byron Bay Rugby and Mullumbimby, with each team playing against each other, in five shortened games.
Owing to other games being cancelled, including Bangalow’s journey to Lismore, the local teams made a ‘Byron Shire’ squad with players from Byron Bay Rugby, Mullumbimby and Bangalow Rugby combining during the last game against Sunshine Coast.
‘With the combined team from three clubs in the Shire, it really showed the standard of the Rugby spirit,’ said Byron Bay club captain Eddy Brown.
‘We would normally battle it out amongst our clubs as there is a bitter rivalry between Byron Bay, Bangalow and Mullumbimby, but on this occasion it was special to have players from all three clubs playing together for the final game,’ he said.
‘Rugby was the winner today,’ said Byron Bay Rugby president Tim Ahern.
‘Two local teams came up against Premiers from Queensland zones and still managed to come out on top,’ he said.
In the first game of the competitive season Byron Bay Rugby will host Ballina Seahorses at the Recreation Ground in Byron Bay this Saturday March 25.
‘We love our home crowd,’ said Brown. ‘It’s a chance for everyone to come together as a community and watch some fantastic local sport. All home games are free to watch this season, with the canteen putting food on and a family-friendly atmosphere with a play area for the kids too.’
Ballina will be ready to put Byron to the test in the first game of the season after losing twice to Byron Bay in 2016.
Both teams have looked good in preseason so this should be an epic encounter for the first round of the 2017 season.
This game is particularly special for the Blue and White as the club includes another team: Byron Bay – Suffolk Sand Crabs who will be playing in the Reserve Grade for the first time.
Led by Captain Matt Larsson, the Sand Crabs will be looking to get a win on the board in their first-ever encounter.
Other Byron Shire games to start the 2017 rugby season on Saturday March 25:
Wollongbar v Bangalow, Lyle Park, Wollongbar 3.15pm
Mullumbimby v Lennox Head, Alby Lofts Oval, Brunswick Heads 2pm.