Ballina have come away from their local derby against Lennox Head in the Far North Coast rugby competition with all the glory after winning the first and reserve grade games.
After a tight first half Ballina were in front by 7–5, before winning the first grade match 27–19.
‘It was a very competitive game,’ Ballina first grade coach Chris Hickey said.
Lennox Head went ahead early in the second half when they scored a try, but Ballina was able to respond with a double hit of tries.
‘There was great defence from both teams but we managed to get up,’ he said.
Ballina captain and open-side flanker Andrew Burke ‘normally plays to a high standard’ but had a ‘particularly good game on the weekend’, the coach said. Prop Sam Pearce also had a good game.
‘It’s a general rule of rugby: if you want to win you have to win in the forwards, and so it was on the day,’ he said.
There was a good crowd for the local derby and for Ballina to play away and come home with two wins was great for the club and its supporters he said.
Winning the top-of-the-table clash sees Ballina leap-frog into top spot on the competition ladder, but they are only three points in front of Lennox with over a month of rugby before the finals begin.
Joel Staude scored two tries for Ballina while Sam Pearce and Stan Loloheaalso scored and Grant Knight kicked two conversions and a penalty goal.
Sam Fitzgerald, Adam Gordon and Brad Lees all scored tries for Lennox Head and Adam converted two.
In last year’s grand final replay Alsonville-Wollongbar were able to win again, this time playing away in Byron Bay. The Pioneers scored five tries to three and won 36–21.
Bangalow continued their winning streak and beat Casuarina 37–24.
Byron Bay are fourth on the competition ladder, but only because of a good for and against. They have 29 competition points as do Bangalow and Casino.
A tough fight for the fourth place in the finals looks assured.