Pitched battle between Bulls and Byron leaves Casino on top
CASINO fullback Guraman Torrens bagged a try-scoring double in the Bulls' hard-fought 29-26 win over Byron Bay in Far North Coast rugby union.
It was the Bulls' third win of the season after twice beating Southern Cross University, which is on the bottom of the ladder.
Five-eighth Thomas Farr and winger Kurt Adams also scored tries for the Bulls on Saturday while the usual whole-hearted performances from hooker Aaron Shake-shaft and flanker Craig Wallace weren't enough to get Byron Bay across the line at Albert Park, Casino.
Elsewhere, Wollongbar-Alstonville and Lismore City had a 33-all draw at Lyle Park, Wollongbar.
Wollongbar five-eighth Ben Damen missed a conversion from the sideline in the final minute that would have snatched a win.
The lead changed throughout as Lismore were forced to fight back from a 17-7 deficit at half-time.
"We took them on up the middle in the second half and it was a massive effort by our forwards," Lismore assistant coach Ed Rummery said.
"We obviously would have preferred the win but it was a great game and everything you'd expect from a top-of-the-table clash.
"There were guys who were forced to play a lot of minutes and it was a big effort across the board.
"We definitely would have been gutted if we'd lost."
Rummery named flanker Will Cotterill, second-rower Ben Briggs and prop Greg Martin as Lismore's best.
In a strange twist, reserve grade between Wollongbar and Lismore also ended in a 33-all draw.
Elsewhere, a hat-trick to centre Joel Staude highlighted Ballina's 47-5 win over Grafton at Quays Reserve, Ballina.
Ballina ran away with it in the second half, laying on six unanswered tries including a double to No 8 Sean Grace.
Forwards Aaron Lupton and Andrew Burke played well for Ballina.
In the other game, Lennox Head thumped SCU 67-7 at Maurie Ryan Oval, Lismore.
THE WEEKEND'S PLAY
- Casino 29 (Guraman Torrens 2, Tom Farr, Kurt Adams tries Tom Farr 2, Stephen Murchie conversions, Tom Farr penalty goal) d Byron Bay 26 (Craig Wallace 2, Harvey Bell, Aaron Shakeshaft tries, Sion King 2, Harvey Bell conversions). Half-time: Casino 22-0.
- Wollongbar-Alstonville 33 (Alex Brown, Justyn Keir, James Vidler, Penaia Leatigaga, Jerry Faifaiese tries, Ben Damen conversion, 2 penalty goals) drew with Lismore 33 (Ben Briggs 2, Will Cotterill, Gavin Tulk, Angus MacDougall tries, Matt Bermingham 4 conversions). Half-time: Wollongbar 17-7.
- Ballina 47 (Joel Staude 3, Sean Grace 2, Ben Robinson, Jesse Field tries, Luke Watling 5, Mitch Craig conversions) d Grafton 5 (Jacob Page try). Half-time: 7-5.
- Lennox Head 67 (Paul Crozier 3, Benn Wright 2, Harry Bungate, tries, Adam Gordon 4, Louis Shields, Connor Winchester conversions) d Southern Cross University 7 (Paul Johnston try, Brett Johnston conversion). Half-time: 45-0.
- Bye: Bangalow.
- Wollongbar-Alstonville 59,
- Lismore 55,
- Lennox Head 55,
- Ballina 44,
- Grafton 30,
- Bangalow 26,
- Byron Bay 22,
- Casino 13,
- Southern Cross University 0.