Teams draw the short straw
CONFUSION reigned when Ballina and Lennox Head were forced to settle for a 32-all draw in Far North Coast rugby union at Quays Reserve, Ballina, on Saturday.
Ballina five-eighth Grant Knight kicked a conversion from the sideline and looked to have snatched a 32-30 win for the Seahorses when the whisle blew minutes later.
Lennox Head were seething on full-time with referee Alan Thomas marking the match sheet as score in dispute.
A video review from the referees' association overnight confirmed that it had been a 32-all draw.
Lennox Head came out of the blocks firing and took an early lead before Ballina winger Caleb Kirchen scored a first-half double.
His second try came courtesy of a perfectly placed cross-field kick from Knight, who put in his usual whole-hearted performance.
The Trojans looked like they might have gone on with it in the second half before late tries to Ballina centre Oka Lolohea and winger Joel Noble set up a tight finish.
Wollongbar-Alstonville beat Byron Bay 32-20 in the grand final rematch at Lyle Park, Wollongbar.
Byron were under all sorts of pressure after a string of early penalties and it led to Pioneers fullback Sam Kerry finding space out wide for a try.
Five-eighth Ben Damen and Kerry had plenty of touches in the first half and kept the opposition guessing in their own territory.
Byron Bay fought back with centre Simon Fathoux finishing off a long-range try before Wollongbar front-rower Benji Tia Tia scored under the crossbar just before half-time.
Winger George Toomey scored the first of his two tries for the Pioneers just after the break while Kerry also finished the game with a double.
Elsewhere, a hat-trick to Southern Cross University hooker Kirk Taylor-Brown highlighted the Gold Rats' 31-25 win over Casino at Maurie Ryan Oval, Lismore.
And new club Casuarina had its first win in the competition when it beat Bangalow 20-12 at Schultz Oval, Bangalow.
Fullback Kai George, who has been one of their best players, bagged a try-scoring double.