Buccaneers get closer to that elusive victory
By TIM HOWARD
THE Yamba Buccaneers edged closer to an elusive first win in first grade when they held thirdplaced Ballina to a 17-all draw at Yamba Oval on Saturday.
Yamba led throughout the game, but tired badly in the last 10 minutes to allow Ballina to score an equalising try.
The team and coach Richard Almond endured five minutes of agony at the end of the game as Ballina kicker Andrew Gordon missed four shots at penalty goal to win the game.
"If either side had a decent goal kicker, they would have won," Almond said.
But Almond was adamant it was a game the Buccaneers deserved to win ? at least for the first 70 minutes of the game.
"During the game I would say we should have won, but in the last 10 minutes, I was happy to get away with a draw," he said.
"We led throughout the game, but we let in the equalising try 10 minutes from the end."
With the scores level, Almond said Yamba showed its inexperience in closing out matches.
"We tried to run the ball out of our half, made mistakes and turned it over," he said.
"If we'd kicked the ball out around half-way and then contested a lineout, we could have been playing the game in their territory."
But for the first 70 minutes of the game, Almond was delighted with the way his team performed.
"The scrum held up pretty well throughout the game, apart from a period just before half time and we were competitive in the lineouts.
"For most of the game we shaded them in the loose and outwide we had a definite advantage.
"We score three well-constructed tries, but two of their tries were just them capitalising on our mistakes."
Yamba led Ballina 10-7 at halftime, courtesy of tries to Tristan Allard and Mitch McClennan.
Adrian Miller, playing at fiveeighth after Andrew Ford went off at half-time with the recurrence of a back problem, scored the Buccaneers' third early half and the team looked ready to claim its first win since return- ing to first grade this season.
"I think it showed that we haven't quite worked out what we need to do to win a game," Almond said.
"If we'd had a couple of wins under our belt it would have been a game we could have closed out."
Almond said openside flanker Paul Hope was the team's best and Miller, first at fullback, then at five-eighth was always a threat.
He said the team is looking forward to its next game against Wollongbar.
"We're at home again in first and thirds, and it's a game we're confident we can do well in," he said.