RSM give hefty start
By JIM BRIGGINSHAW
REIGNING Northern Rivers No 1 pennant champion Casino RSM must like giving the opposition a hefty start, as it did in last season's opener the side was whitewashed in Saturday's first outing.
Last year East Lismore did the job 6-0, on Saturday it was Evans Head's turn to wield a similar axe.
Everybody was waiting for the Casino-Evans Head encounter, the two clubs between them had taken every No 1 flag since 2002. But the match was no match.
Take a look at the skips rink scores in Evans Heads mammoth 67-36 victory: John Lang slaughtered Gary Burt 25-7, Bill Cooper knocked over Richard Latta 24-15, and Owen Dorey beat David Ball 18-14. You don't get more decisive than that.
Last season, though, after the initial first round glitch, Casino RSM went on to take the flag by 4.5 points from Evans Head. It has the personnel to do it again.
Ballina's move in the off-season of employing the districts first full-time co-ordinator, Premier Leaguer Tony Scott of Newcastle, gives early hints of paying off.
The club's No 1 side that has languished in recent years and hasn't won the flag since 1984, got away to a promising start in this season's comp.
It beat Lennox Head 61-51 to take five points to one. The win showed the form in the pennant forerunner, the Pre-Season Cup, was spot-on - the two clubs met in thecgrand final on Friday night, with Ballina taking it 2-0.
South Lismore's return to the one No 1 pennant side after having two in the top grade last season, has brought it back to competitive strength.
The Southies showed some of the old form in beating East Lismore 61-49 to take four points to two.
The points table after the opening round has Casino RSM, the pennant champion, in the unusual position of being the only one of the six clubs to not have a point: Evans Head 6, Ballina 5, South Lismore 4, East Lismore 2, Lennox Head 1, Casino RSM 0.
Leaders in other grades No 2: Ballina 6. No 3: Casino RSM 4.5. No 4: Alstonville 5.5. No 5: Broadwater 5.5. No 6: Lismore City 6. No 7a: East Lismore 6. No 7b: Ballina 6.