Buccaneers make the grade
By TONY WHITE
A large crowd is expected at Yamba Oval today for the historic return of the Pacific Hotel Yamba Buccaneers to first grade rugby.
President Daryl Rock said interest in the match had been "tremendous.
"Not only within the club but the general community have shown a great deal of interest," Rock said. "We're expecting a lot of home town support."
Today is the first time the Buccaneers club, established in 1975, has fielded a first grade team since 1992.
After a bye in the opening round, the Buccaneers take on Ballina in the Far North Coast Zone competition.
The Buccaneers premiership winning third grade side opened the season last week with a 52-13 thumping of Mullumbimby.
"In previous years our first grade team never starred in the competition but we're confident of our ability this year," Rock said.
"For the first time in the club's history we have four players in the Far North Coast Zone representative side ? Adrian Miller, Damien McDermid, Mitch McLennan, who is back from the Warringah club in Sydney and Ben Ralston, who played with us last year after also returning from Warringah.
"Apart from Adrian the other three have all come through our junior ranks.
"There's a real buzz around the town.
"At a special jumper handing out presentation on Thursday evening there was even a large band of supporters at the ground."
First grade will be coached by Richard Almond. Almond began playing rugby with Takapuna and East Coast Bays Rugby Clubs in New Zealand and later 13 years with the University of Western Australia Rugby Club.
He played over 200 games, was a player coach for several seasons, club captain and involved in grand final success with that club.
Almond later played two seasons with the Buccaneers including one as captain.
First grade kicks off at 3pm.