Touch of class at State Cup
BALLINA could be a force in the years to come after its open men's performance at the NSW State Touch Football competition in Port Macquarie.
The Bullsharks had a young side and won the shield final in division B in a dominant display over Parramatta.
Eight Bullsharks players are from the Ballina rugby union club, while Grant Knight is a current NSW Country representative in rugby.
Zac Beecher was also in the team and he played hooker in the NSW Country rugby league team last season.
The Bullsharks had the likes of Joe Jansson and Ben Robinson who have been top players in the Ballina Touch Football Association over the past few years.
Ballina recorded its best result at the state titles, with seven of the nine teams making it to at least the quarter-finals.
"It was our most successful tournament ever,” club president Allan Kirchen said.
"Not only did we send down the most number of teams, but they all performed to an exceptionally high standard.
"To have our men's open team take out the shield in their division was the icing on the cake.”
It was a big effort from the mixed open team which was undefeated in qualifying for the championship rounds.
The team went on to face tough competition, with captain-coach Beau Milner thrilled to contest the tournament's top grade.
In other divisions, the men's under-20s team missed out on contesting the final in the bowl division by two points and the women's team qualified for the top grade of the championship. Despite losing the quarter-final, their ranking of fifth in the State was a "tremendous achievement”, according to coach Scott Turner.
The Ballina women's over-40s team played in the final of the bowl division, but went down in a hard-fought contest.
The men's over-40s team qualified for the finals of the bowl competition and the over-50s men's made the championship finals, eventually being out-matched by Manly.
The over-55s men's team also qualified for the finals of the championship division, but narrowly lost its quarter-final against Beresfield.