Late tries seal Trojans' win
A HAT-TRICK to Lennox Head centre Callum Jones highlighted the Trojans' 38-29 win over Byron Bay in Far North Coast rugby union at Williams Reserve, Lennox Head, on Saturday.
His third try near the end sealed the win after the Trojans had trailed 29-24, then fullback Sam Fitzgerald ran in another try in the final minute.
It looked like being a long day for Byron Bay when a perfectly timed cross-field kick from five-eighth Billy Goldsmith put winger Sean Watkins over in the opening minutes.
Flanker Sam Dwyer busted them up the middle through flimsy defence, handing off to Jones to score his first and take a 10-0 lead minutes later.
Jones' second try was a foot race when he kicked a loose ball down field and planted the ball down under the cross-bar for a 17-3 lead.
Goldsmith was yellow-carded and Byron Bay were awarded a penalty try when he chopped down fullback Jascha Saeck around the neck on his way to the tryline.
The bigger Byron team were starting to warm to the task in the forwards and it was game on at 17-15 when Saeck scored a try just after half-time.
They moved the ball around well on the edges and hit the lead at 22-17 when winger James Boozer scored in the corner.
"To get ahead and let them come back is a bit of a downside but to be able to come back from behind at the end is something we can take away,” coach Rob Fish said.
"I can't question our backline's effort; our forward pack are still learning but they're keen as mustard to keep improving.
"We got out-muscled against a bigger pack in the wet last week but on dry ground we did a lot better.”
The Trojans were able to push Byron around in the scrum but found flanker Craig Wallace and centre Courntney Raymond hard to contain when he came on in the second half.
Second-rower Will Aisake took the hard carries when they needed them and it looked like they were going to win when Saeck scored a second try to give them the 29-24 lead.
Elsewhere, Casuarina won its sixth straight game and is on top of the ladder after a hard-fought 16-12 result at home over Ballina.
Bangalow had its first win of the season, 24-12 against Lismore at Schultz Oval, Bangalow.
And Grafton defeated the Casino Bulls 38-35 at Albert Park, Casino.
Lennox Head 38 (Callum S Jones 3, Hugo Marks, Sam Fitzgerald, Sean Watkins tries; Hugo Marks 4 conversions) d Byron Bay 29 (Jascha Saeck 2, James Boozer tries; penalty try; Peter Gillespie 3 conversions, penalty goal). Half-time: Lennox Head 17-10.
Casuarina Beach 16 (Kai George try; Michael Coates conversion; Vitori Buatava 2 Michael Coates penalty goals) d Ballina 12 (Terry Ferguson, Edward Ragamate tries; Terry Ferguson conversion). Half-time: 13-12.
Bangalow 24 (John Turagabeci, Ben Alcock, Kye Spence, Duncan Kendall tries; Ben Farrow, Jack Bensley conversions) d Lismore 10 (Angus MacDougall, William Fairweather tries). Half-time: 12-10.
Grafton 38 (Dwayne Duke 2, Ed McGrath, Billy Whalan, Zac Mason-Gale, Kyle Hancock tries; Luke Worthing 4 conversions) d Casino 35 (Harrison Cusack 2, Elliot Birmingham, Nick Armstrong, Ratu Vatunawa tries; Harrison Cusack 5 conversions). Half-time: Grafton 17-7.
Pointscore: Casuarina 29, Wollongbar 25, Lennox Head 20, Byron Bay 17, Ballina 16, Grafton 15, Casino 12, Bangalow 9, Southern Cross University 1, Lismore 0.
Reserve grade: Casino 29 d Grafton 5, Ballina 40 d Casuarina 19, Mullumbimby 30 d Lismore 0, Wollongbar 30 d SCU 0.
Women's sevens: Grafton 37 d Casino 17, Evans River 37 d Byron Bay 15, Ballina 30 d Casuarina 0.
President's Cup: Tenterfield 24 d Grafton 17, Yamba 17 d Evans River 14, Kyogle 30 d Iluka 0.
Round 7 this Saturday: Wollongbar-Alstonville v Byron Bay, Lismore v Casuarina Beach, Grafton v Lennox Head, Ballina v Bangalow (and Mullumbimby), Casino v SCU at Crozier Field Lismore.
Women's sevens: Wollongbar v Byron Bay, Evans River v Grafton, Yamba v Ballina, Casino v SCU at Crozier Field.
President's Cup: Evans River v Grafton, Yamba v Ballina, Kyogle v Tenterfield.