Ballina burst ends City?s season

STEVE SPINKS

A POWERFUL final 20-minute surge engineered by the brothers Gordon helped Ballina knock out two-time defending champions Lismore City in the minor semi-final of Bangalow Hotel Far North Coast rugby union at Grafton Rugby Park on Saturday. Ballina were down 14-8 with only 20 minutes to go before some substitutions by Seahorses coach Karl Lupton, including that of five-eighth Adam Gordon, sparked a 17-point explosion. Gordon and then his older brother Andrew, who started on the wing, crossed for tries during the final quarter, while Andrew also nailed a penalty and two conversions. Brothers in arms "The Gordon brothers did get us home late," Lupton enthused. "But the other replacements were good as well." Halfback Paul Lynch and flanker Danny Lickiss were the other super subs. But the player of the game for Ballina was terrier-like flanker Chad Duensing. Duensing answered a late call- up from Lupton after No 8 Sonny Filimoehala was a late withdrawal with injury. Duensing, who has missed most of the season with a serious neck complaint, was at his inspirational best as he tore into the City pack. The flanker also scored a try. "Chad was just sensational," Lupton said. "He stood out with his blond mohawk." While Lupton was smiling after his side stormed home in the final quarter, the Ballina coach was far from happy with the first 60 minutes of the match. Lismore City ? led by their back-row of Heath Conlan, Jamie Olivieri and Ray Taylor ? defended doggedly and led 8-5 at half-time. The score progressed to 14-8 before a a run of penalties started counting against the defending premiers. City coach Peter Tozer also pulled a selection surprise with centre Mitch Mowle starting the match. The big centre had been missing from the Greens outfit since June with a knee injury, but he made himself available for the elimination encounter. And he sparked a Greens side that had been unconvincing in the final home-and-away rounds. But Mowle could last only until mid-way through the second half when the table started to turn Ballina's way. Scrums and line-outs were evenly contested but City perhaps shaded the men in blue at the breakdown. However, they couldn't land the knock-out punch on the Seahorses who pounced through the Gordons late in the game. Besides the City back row and Mowle, prop Greg Martin and five-eighth Daniel O'Brien tried hard. Liam Preston and captain Paul Davies were strong for Ballina.

BALLINA 25 (Chad Duensing, Andrew Gordon, Adam Gordon tries; Andrew Gordon 2 conversions, 2 penalty goals) d LISMORE CITY 14 (Heath Conlan try; Ben Sloane 3 penalties). Half-time: City 14-8. Referee: Graham Cooke.

Next Saturday Major semi-final: Casino v Grafton at Albert Park, Casino.

TEVE SPINKS

A POWERFUL final 20-minute surge engineered by the brothers Gordon helped Ballina knock out two-time defending champions Lismore City in the minor semi-final of Bangalow Hotel Far North Coast rugby union at Grafton Rugby Park on Saturday. Ballina were down 14-8 with only 20 minutes to go before some substitutions by Seahorses coach Karl Lupton, including that of five-eighth Adam Gordon, sparked a 17-point explosion. Gordon and then his older brother Andrew, who started on the wing, crossed for tries during the final quarter, while Andrew also nailed a penalty and two conversions. Brothers in arms "The Gordon brothers did get us home late," Lupton enthused. "But the other replacements were good as well." Halfback Paul Lynch and flanker Danny Lickiss were the other super subs. But the player of the game for Ballina was terrier-like flanker Chad Duensing. Duensing answered a late call- up from Lupton after No 8 Sonny Filimoehala was a late withdrawal with injury. Duensing, who has missed most of the season with a serious neck complaint, was at his inspirational best as he tore into the City pack. The flanker also scored a try. "Chad was just sensational," Lupton said. "He stood out with his blond mohawk." While Lupton was smiling after his side stormed home in the final quarter, the Ballina coach was far from happy with the first 60 minutes of the match. Lismore City ? led by their back-row of Heath Conlan, Jamie Olivieri and Ray Taylor ? defended doggedly and led 8-5 at half-time. The score progressed to 14-8 before a a run of penalties started counting against the defending premiers. City coach Peter Tozer also pulled a selection surprise with centre Mitch Mowle starting the match. The big centre had been missing from the Greens outfit since June with a knee injury, but he made himself available for the elimination encounter. And he sparked a Greens side that had been unconvincing in the final home-and-away rounds. But Mowle could last only until mid-way through the second half when the table started to turn Ballina's way. Scrums and line-outs were evenly contested but City perhaps shaded the men in blue at the breakdown. However, they couldn't land the knock-out punch on the Seahorses who pounced through the Gordons late in the game. Besides the City back row and Mowle, prop Greg Martin and five-eighth Daniel O'Brien tried hard. Liam Preston and captain Paul Davies were strong for Ballina.

BALLINA 25 (Chad Duensing, Andrew Gordon, Adam Gordon tries; Andrew Gordon 2 conversions, 2 penalty goals) d LISMORE CITY 14 (Heath Conlan try; Ben Sloane 3 penalties). Half-time: City 14-8. Referee: Graham Cooke.

Next Saturday Major semi-final: Casino v Grafton at Albert Park, Casino.



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