Hail Hundys heroics
WITH his first touch of the football in first grade, Ballina's Matt Hundy scored a try that propelled the Seagulls into the Retravision Northern League major semi-final after a thrilling 38-34 victory over the Tweed Coast Raiders yesterday. Hundy's heroics came with three minutes remaining and his team trailing the Raiders 34-32 at Les Berger Field, Cabarita. Normally the Ballina Under-18 captain and five-eighth, Hundy found himself on the wing in first grade but despite the unfamiliar surroundings he still had enough nous to sniff out the match-winning try. "He actually played all three games yesterday," Ballina club president Bill Wilson said. "He played in Under-18s, came on in reserve grade and then first grade. "He's a junior rep player at five-eighth, but he's very quick so he can play on the wing." While Hundy stole the headlines, his teammates deserved much of the acclaim as Ballina were forced to play a man down for 70 minutes after lock Paul King was sent off for a high tackle. Losing such a willing worker would normally damage any team, however the Seagulls lifted running into the breeze and led 26-8 at half-time. "Grant Clements (prop) got a couple of miracle balls away and Dan O'Connor set up Willie Hammond," Wilson said. "All the boys played really well." However, the Raiders stormed back into contention. Wave after wave of Raiders attackers were knocked down by the enthusiastic Ballina defence, but eventually possession told. "They really blew us off the park in the second half," Wilson said. "We only had two sets of six for the first 20 minutes of the second half. They just held on to it. "It was just a really gutsy performance from our team." Tweed Coast eventually took the lead at 34-32 with 10 minutes remaining and even the most ardent Seagulls supporter would have begun to fear the worst. But Ballina regained composure to give Hundy enough space on the flank to score and with only minutes remaining, the Seagulls were never going to lose. Hooker Andrew Battese's goal-kicking also proved crucial. The teenager slotted seven goals, while the Tweed goal-kickers kicked only three between them. Ballina will now meet minor premiers Mullumbimby at Mullumbimby in the major semi-final next weekend. BALLINA 38 (Jamie Quinn 2, Willie Hammond 2, Lachlan Flannery, Matt Hundy tries; Andrew Battese 7 goals) d TWEED COAST RAIDERS 34 (Curtin Finn 2, Scott Ella 2, Joe Coyne, Dane Herren, Buddy King tries; Curtis Finn 2, Adam Atkins goal). Reserve grade: BALLINA 50 (Martin Gordon 2, Brad Newby, Steve Kelly, Ryan Paczkowski, Tyler Iverson, Matt Hundy, Lucas Freeburn, Les Roberts tries; Des Anderson 5, Justin Bolt, Martin Gordon goals) d LOWER CLARENCE 14 (Luke Prosser-Dodd, Zane Purcell, Roy Bell tries; Aaron Walker goal). Under-18s: MULLUMBIMBY 28 (Dallas Wedd, Steve Carsons, Thomas Pyke, Luke Woods, Dane Chisolm tries; Steve Carsons 4 goals) d BALLINA 8 (Tyson McKenna, Bud Anderson tries).