Bombers blow their chances
A PAIR of Clarence Kelly gems propelled Byron Bay to a 28-22 win over Evans Head in their Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League match at Stan Payne Oval, Evans Head, yesterday – but not before plenty of controversy.
A questionable call from referee Peter O’Connor denied Evans Head the chance to square the game in the closing minutes when Jack Wythes darted over from dummy-half, but the Bombers could hardly complain after bumbling two certain tries on their own.
Wythes was sensational for the home side and his effort – which was ruled to be held-up in goal – would have been a perfect reward for a dynamite display.
But Evans should have taken control before then with nimble halfback Anthony Robinson presenting the try-line to Tongan winger Le Lo Stavenow, who just couldn’t hang on to the ball.
Byron gave Evans every chance – Kelly and Bill Lowrie each spent 10 minutes in the bin for ill-discipline – but the Red Devils dug deep to defend their line for much of the second 40.
Red Devils captain-coach Simon Kelly was thrilled with the defensive effort from a team with four players backing up from Northern Rivers’ representative slugfest at Port Macquarie on Friday night.
“To spend 20 minutes of that half with just 12 players and defend the line like that makes me real proud,” Kelly said.
“It was only grit and determination that got us there – the boys backing-up were unbelievable.”
But the big back-rower will surely be having a stern chat with his men about discipline – Clarence Kelly was binned for dissent and others were penalised a number of times for back-chat.
“It just kills us when we have players penalised for mouthing off,” Kelly said.
“It’s hard enough to slog out a win here without having to do it minus players.”
Clarence Kelly is sure to get an earful from his captain and namesake, but his wayward tongue was somewhat overshadowed by the sharp stepping that saw him produce a 70-metre solo try.
Back at the Bay after a season with Northern United, Kelly was quiet for much of the match but devastating when required.
The evasive three-quarter was one of those backing up from a tough rep game and felt the pinch getting across the line for his second.
“I was lucky to get there in the end,” he said.
“It was a tough game on Friday night and this wasn’t much easier.”
The premiership-winning Red Devil is happy to be back in the red jersey and chiming into a quality backline.
“Northern United was great fun – a real different style of footy,” he said. “But it’s good to be back playing for the Red Devils.”