Mullumbimby's Jay Hampson is pulled up by the Byron Bay defence in their game at Red Devil Park, Byron Bay, yesterday.
Mullumbimby's Jay Hampson is pulled up by the Byron Bay defence in their game at Red Devil Park, Byron Bay, yesterday.

Drought-breaker

WHEN there's a drought, you pray for a drought-breaker. That was the case for Mullumbimby Giants in Retravision Northern League yesterday, and five-eighth Travis Drought delivered. The drought in Mullum's must-win clash against Byron Bay Red Devils wasn't of the water variety there was plenty of that falling from the sky. It was tries and points that were lacking as the Giants looked for a win that would give them the minor premiership. And they secured it with a hard-fought 8-2 win over their most bitter rivals. Going into the final-round match, Mullum were on 29 points. Threatening their bid for the minor title were the Red Devils, fully pumped up after a controversial forfeit to Mullum in the first round and a week of sledging and Tweed Coast Raiders a point behind the Giants and with a relatively easier task against Murwillumbah. As it turned out, the Raiders won 18-16 and finished on 30 points, and had one hand on the minor premiership. That news filtered through at Red Devil Park by mobile phone. At that stage of the game, the scores were 2-all at Byron and there was only minutes remaining. It was anyone's game Enter youthful five-eighth Travis Drought. Running off a Troy Johnstone pass, Drought found something as rare as hen's teeth yesterday a gap in the Byron defence. He looked like being collared near the line, but found fullback Murray Brown in support, sending a perfect pass in slippery conditions to the fullback, who scored the most important try of the season for the Giants. It was a try that put the large Mullum contingent in raptures. And it broke the heart of every Red Devils supporter at the ground. "He's just out of Under-18s, and he's going to be a class player," coach Damon Scott said of Drought. "He's got a little bit of maturing to do, but if he sticks with football he's going to be a class player. "He's leading the boys around really well and I'm really pleased with him." Big build-up YESTERDAY'S local derby between the two arch-rivals had everything in the build-up. There was controversy in round one when Byron refused to play Mullum at Mullum under lights on a Saturday night, saying they would happily play them on Sunday. Mullum claimed Byron had agreed a month earlier to play on a Saturday night. Officialdom ruled in Mullum's favour and they got the points, setting the scene for an almighty clash when the teams next met. Then, last week, Byron coach Vince Nicklin was quoted in Rugby League Week as saying some things which were not well-received by the Giants and their fans. This set the scene for the mother of all Byron-Mullum clashes. And then it rained. The heavy field and slippery conditions yesterday meant free-flowing league was out of the question. Mullum handled those conditions much better. They had a glut of possession, courtesy of frequent Byron Bay mistakes. But every time the Red Devils handed over possession, it seemed to steel their defence. At one stage of the first half Mullum had six consecutive sets of possession. Still, they couldn't score. On one of the rare occasions Byron got into enemy territory was right on half-time. They gained a penalty in front, David Black goaled and Byron Bay led 2-0 as the half-time siren sounded. Byron Bay winger Duane Cahill set the tone for the Red Devils' second-half effort seven minutes after the break. His Mullum opponent crossed and seemed certain to score, but Cahill miraculously bundled the attacker into touch in goal.



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