Seagulls pick the eyes out of Devils
BALLINA hooker Andrew Battese injected himself at crucial moments when the Seagulls beat Byron Bay 20-6 in Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League at Byron Bay yesterday.
Battese scored the only try in the second half with a grubber kick in the previous set forcing a Byron Bay error on their own tryline.
The Red Devils' defence was committed but was always going to crack after the amount of possession they gave away to the defending premiers.
Ballina were far from brilliant but showed plenty of composure.
Earlier, the Seagulls took a 2-0 lead before winger Mason Lane scored a converted try in the eighth minute.
Byron Bay were getting trapped in their own half but managed to score almost straight away when they found themselves in attacking range.
Halfback Ryan O'Connell put in a clever kick for fullback Dan Lollback to score a try and reduce the margin to 8-6.
It was a brave showing from Lollback, who looked concussed late in the game but managed to stay on the field.
The Red Devils were aiming up in defence with second rower Brad Lees and Ben Webber pulling off some big hits.
It looked like they were going to hold the Seagulls out until Ballina fullback Michael Thomas forced his way over out wide.
Five-eighth Tim Foster controlled play well for Ballina and Anthony Colman had a big game in the centres.
Hooker Tom Martin and front- rower Scott Stapleton were among Byron Bay's best.
BALLINA 20 (M Lane, M Thomas, A Battese tries; Battese 4 goals) d BYRON BAY 6 (D Lollback try; J Gordon goal)
In other games:
- The Casino Cougars had their third straight win, this time 16-12 over Cudgen at Ned Byrne Field, Kingscliff.
- Murwillumbah claimed its first win of the season, 34-10 against Northern United at Stan Sercombe Oval, Murwillumbah.
- Marist Brothers put on another big score in a 38-4 thrashing of Kyogle at Kyogle.
- Evans Head beat the Tweed Coast Raiders 18-10 at Stan Payne Oval, Evans Head (pictures above)