Kyogle, Range win in upsets

by MATT ALEXANDER THERE were two huge upsets in Far North Coast village rugby union last Saturday, with Kyogle handing Bangalow only its second loss in two years and Richmond Range defeating Evans Head. Kyogle's 12-0 win moved the Cockatoos to a share of the lead with Bangalow and showed they plan to be there on grand final day. Keeping the competition front-runners scoreless is a rare feat. Kyogle have been building steadily this year and have now assured themselves of a place in the semi-finals. The result also gives other teams encouragement that the Bangalow rugby juggernaut of the past three seasons may now have a weakness or two. Range belied its position on the ladder with a 10-7 victory over Evans Head. Evans Head have struggled for consistent form in the second half of the season, while Range are only where they are on the points table due to loss of competition points. With the finals less than two months away teams that cannot win these tight encounters will not progress. Apart from the unmerciful hammerings some teams have given Byron Bay, there have been few thrashings this season. With Range's form picking up, they could well upset a few other teams' finals hopes, while for Evans Head to win their first title they need to find consistent form. In the other game, Iluka defeated Byron Bay 29-10. Byron can't seem to get things going this year with form going from blistering one minute to atrocious the next. Iluka are making their usual late charge to the finals and their play late in the game, including better discipline, enabled them to extend a 12-10 half-time lead after Byron Bay had appeared to be in control 15 minutes into the second half. The most encouraging part of Iluka's game was their ability to quickly capitalise on turnover ball and compete strongly at the set piece. With continued good form the Cossacks have a chance of overhauling Woolgoolga and making the semi-finals. Points: Bangalow 33, Kyogle 33, Evans Head 31, Woolgoolga 27, Iluka 18, Range 10, Byron Bay 4.

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