Lennox Head flanker Sean Watkins was one of the Trojans best against Casuarina in the FNC rugby minor semi-final.
Lennox Head flanker Sean Watkins was one of the Trojans best against Casuarina in the FNC rugby minor semi-final. Ursula Bentley@CapturedAus

The big challenge facing Lennox Trojans next year

LATE tries snatched a 35-30 win for Casuarina after a whole-hearted effort from Lennox Head in the Far North Coast rugby union minor semi-final at Maurie Ryan Oval, East Lismore, on Saturday.

The Trojans gave up plenty of size and experience but looked like they might have gone on with it after taking a 30-21 lead in the second half.

The centres combined well with a brilliant flick pass from Callum Jones putting five-eighth Hugo Marks over for a sensational try.

However, the Barbarians were up for the fight and forced their way over through front-rower Robert Beacroft before winger Kai George scored the match-winner out wide.

"Pick and drive has got us all year because teams know we don't have the size to stop it," Lennox Head coach Rob Fish said.

"I don't want to take anything away from our forwards, though, because they worked really hard out there.

"We never went away; we knew what our backs could do and we probably saw the best try of the season out there today."

A returning Mitch Planten scored the first try of the game for Casuarina to take a 7-3 lead after an early penalty goal to Lennox Head centre Billy Goldsmith.

Goldsmith kicked a second penalty goal before flanker Sean Watkins scooped a wayward ball from a lineout, scoring a try for the Trojans to reclaim the lead at 13-7.

The lead changed again when Casuarina flanker Ross Colvin scored before Marks gave Lennox Head a 20-14 advantage when he broke through in a determined individual effort.

Five-eighth Vitoria Buatava combined with fullback Casey Calder for a 21-20 lead before Goldsmith kicked a penalty just before half-time.

"I'm pretty sure five of our guys are off to the UK now so we'll probably have to rebuild again next year," Fish said.

"But from where we were at the start of the year I'm actually amazed that we made it this far and I couldn't be happier.

"I think the whole competition needs to look at numbers next season; I don't know how some teams do it without a second grade.

"Most of our guys are playing full games and were lucky that second grade played today so we had a decent bench."

SCOREBOARD

MINOR SEMI-FINALS

First grade: Casuarina Beach 35 (Mitch Planten, Ross Colvin, Casey Calder, Robert Beacroft, Kai George tries; Webb Lillis 5 conversions) d Lennox Head 30 (Hugo Marks 2, Sean Watkins tries, Billy Goldsmith 3 conversions, 3 penalty goals). Half-time: Lennox Head 23-21.

Reserve grade: Ballina 58 (Joel Noble 2, Nat Hooper 2, Daniel Cotes, Nathan Groves, Brett Johnston, Arthur Penisini, Inasa Naulivou tries; Nick Brydon 5 conversions, penalty goal) d Lennox Head 5 (Kyle Wilson try). Half-time: 20-0.

Women's sevens: Yamba 20 (Brooke Anderson 2, Melanie Laurie, Shari Cohen tries) d Casino 12 (Zali Wheeler, Kiara Laarhoven tries; Trenell Williams conversion). Half-time: 15-0.

President's Cup: Iluka 17 (Jesse Breckenridge, Lenny Anderson tries; Grant Brown 2 conversions, penalty goal) d Ballina 10 (Beau Cubby, Paul Lynch tries). Half- time: 14-5.

 

MAJOR SEMI-FINALS

THIS SATURDAY

(at Lyle Park, Wollongbar)

First grade at 3.15pm:

Wollongbar-Alstonville v Ballina.

Reserve grade at 1.50pm:

Mullumbimby v Wollongbar- Alstonville.

Women's sevens at 1.20pm:

Wollongbar-Alstonville v Ballina.

President's Cup at 12 noon:

Yamba v Evans River.



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