Ballina blunts City surge
THE Ballina Seahorses overcame testing circumstances to grind out a 12-7 victory and end Lismore City’s season in the Far North Coast rugby union minor semi-final at Quays Reserve, Ballina, on Saturday.
Reduced to 13 men for 10 minutes late in the first half, Ballina was able to repel a surging Lismore outfit to seal its fist victory over the Greens in 2010.
Front-rowers Jacques Lotter and Adam Thomas were yellow-carded for professional fouls when defending their tryline – the absence of the specialist tight-head prop and hooker making the victory even more fulfilling for coach Mick McGregor.
“That is a fair hill to climb,” he said. “But we’ve done that and now can rest up and get ready for our next match.”
The Seahorses have a week off before playing the loser of Saturday’s major semi-final between Lennox Head and Wollongbar-Alstonville.
But McGregor doesn’t see the week off as a bonus.
“We would probably prefer to keep going and stay on a roll,” he said. “But there are a few sore heads so I guess we can sit back and watch our lower grades go around next weekend and support them.”
In his last game for the club before returning to Portugal, centre Jamie Coote opened the Seahorses account with his second try of the year.
Chad Duensing scored next, and like when the two sides met in round 11, the Seagulls led 12-0 at the break.
That time the match ended a 15-all draw – on Saturday McGregor was understandably nervous.
“When Lismore scored first in the second half I thought it was heading the same way as last time,” he said. “But to our credit we dug in and held them out.”
In the lower grade minor semi-finals played at Quays Reserve on Saturday:
Lennox Head defeated Lismore 53-8 in reserve grade.
Casino squeezed past Ballina 22-17 in the Under-19s with 17 points coming from the boot of Bulls fly-half Lachlan Winkler.
Wollongbar-Alstonville progressed in third grade with a 29-19 win over Grafton.
In the major semi-finals at Lyle Park, Wollongbar, on Saturday, first grade minor premiers Lennox Head play Wollongbar-Alstonville; Ballina is up against Wollongbar-Alstonville in reserve grade; Wollongbar again goes around in the Under-19s against Grafton; and Lismore and Ballina will do battle in third grade.