Ref’s rulings rile Ballina
THREE yellow cards and a rare penalty try were part of a scrappy 30-22 win when Wollongbar-Alstonville beat Ballina in Far North Coast rugby union.
The competition leaders found a way to win at Quays Reserve, Ballina, on Saturday, laying on 27 unanswer-ed points after trailing 17-3 early in the second half.
It was a gusty performance from both sides but Ballina felt they were crucified by a lop-sided penalty count.
The first penalty try of the competition in recent memory was awarded after Ballina players were ruled to have been offside on their own tryline.
The Seahorses played most of the second half with 14 men after referee Allan Thomas produced three yellow cards for separate infringements.
No 8 Sean Grace was given a spell for lifting in a tackle while centre Jesse Field and fullback Joe Jansson also spent time off the field.
A penalty at most would have been sufficient for Field and Jansson.
Wollongbar-Alstonville five-eighth Ben Damen steered the ship in the final 20 minutes as tries to centre Nathaniel Regueira and No 8 Jerry Faifaise sealed the win.
Hooker Aidan Cubis scored a late try for Ballina from a driving maul.
Ballina coach John Dokter commended his team on not dropping their heads under the circumstances.
Wollongbar coach John Jenkins was also full of praise for his men sticking to the game plan despite falling 14 points behind at one point.
Centre Jack Downie, prop Matt Wright and Faifaise played well for Wollongbar.
In other games:
Lismore fullback Dean Wilson scored a hat-trick in a 60-7 win over Southern Cross University at Maurie Ryan Oval, Lismore.
The Gold Rats have struggled to score points this season but were much improved against the defending premiers.
Lennox Head had a determined 26-10 win over Bangalow at the Bangalow Sportsground.
Grafton were too strong for Casino with a 32-0 win at Grafton Rugby Park.
FNC RUGBY SCOREBOARD
Wollongbar-Alstonville 30 (Rhys McNaughton, Nat Regueira, Ieremia Faifaiese tries, penalty try, Ben Damen 2 conversions, 2 penalty goals) d Ballina 22 (Sean Grace, Syd Etuati, Aidan Cubis tries, Luke Watling 2 conversions, penalty goal). Half-time: Ballina 10-3.
Lismore 60 (Dean Wilson 3, James Whitby 2, Tom Bishop, Dean Matthews, Angus MacDougall, Cody Johnston, Gavin Tulk tries, Tom Bishop 4, James Whitby conversions) d Southern Cross University 7 (Caleb Burke try, conversion). Half-time: 24-7.
Lennox Head 26 (Harry Witt 2, Connor Winchester 2 tries, Adam Gordon 3 conversions) d Bangalow 10 (Josh Wrigley, James Coventry tries). Half-time: 12-5.
Grafton 27 (Jacob Page, Bryce Rankin, Luke Butler, Jono Speechley, Ed McGrath tries, Bryce Rankin conversion) d Casino 0. Half-time: 15-0.
Pointscore: Wollongbar-Alstonville 46, Lismore 41, Lennox Head 35, Ballina 30, Grafton 25, Bangalow 21, Byron Bay 15, Casino 8, Southern Cross University 0.