Story and pics by dogwhistle
A double granfinal showing was a fitting swan song for Byron Bay Services Club’s retiring premier coach Damon Bell.
Despite a gutsy performances from the Rams premier division and reserve teams, they both fell short on grandfinal day in late September.
The reserves fought a dogged battle against a tough and experienced Richmond Rovers side. The gruelling end-to-end clash remained scoreless for the full ninety minutes, plus 20 minutes of hard graft in extra time only for the Rams to go down 7–6 in the ensuing penalty shoot out.
An outstanding performance from keeper, Marcus Gibbs saw the 16-year-old awarded the Man-of-the-Match trophy.
The premier grandfinal was an equally intense encounter between rivals Byron Rams and South Lismore Celtic.
In previous encounters this year it was two wins apiece.
The Rams hit the ground running – dominating much of the first-half with plenty of attacking moves but could not crack the Celtic defence.
Souths stepped up their attack in the second-half and with 15 minutes remaining and extra-time looming, they broke the deadlock off the back of a free kick to take a 1–0 lead. Minutes later a superb free kick beat the Rams keeper and put Souths two goals in front.
A penalty in the dying minutes took the scoreline to 2–1 and sparked an even more intense rally from the Rams, but to no avail.
In a great stint with the Rams, coach Bell has collected four premiership and two championship trophies an Anzac Cup, as well as taking the Rams to the regional level of the FFA Cup.