The Byron Bay rugby team lost 30–22 against the Wollongbar Alstonville Pioneers playing away in a replay of last year’s grandfinal on the weekend.
The side may have lost in the final minutes of the game, just as it did in last year’s grandfinal, but it was a great game of rugby, club registrar Andrew Teamu said.
Each side scored four tries apiece in a running and open game, where the lead changed a couple of times, he said.
The Pioneers pulled away early with two tries before Byron mounted a comeback. The teams were neck and neck in the final quarter before the pioneers were able to seal the game with a late try.
Try scorers for Byron included Craig Wallace (2), Simon Fathoux and Evan Mallaroy. John Laughlin scored a conversion.
Despite being round four of the Far North Coast Rugby comp the Byron side was playing just its second game after the wet weather and Easter breaks.
The interruptions had largely undone a lot of the preseason work the new look side has been doing, but it is still very confident about the rest of the season.
First grade has 12 new players and one of these, 19-year-old Tomi Priestland, was named Players Player on the weekend, in his debut for the side.
The side now has a fairly tough run as they squeeze in the missed games.
This Thursday they play Southern Cross Uni at the home ground because it has lights, with just a few days’ rest before the weekend game.
They will also have to play a game on their traditional bye date, the Splendour in the Grass weekend.
The Byron club did have plenty to celebrate on the weekend as their newly formed reserve grade side, the Sand Crabs, secured their first win beating the Pioneers 43–7.
In other games Casuarina Beach defeated Bangalow 20–12 and in the local derby Ballina and Lennox Head drew 32–all.
In reserve grade the Mullumbimby Moonshiners beat Bangalow 28–5