Buccaneers right the ship
By Tony White
THE Pacific Hotel Yamba Buccaneers Far North Coast Rugby Union premiership aspirations looked capsized after two costly defeats but the ship was righted on a watery ground in Ballina on Saturday.
Yamba scored a much needed 19-10 victory against last year's premiers.
"We're back on track," enthused Yamba coach Andrew Bennett.
"We controlled the ball better and got more involved. And fortunately we weren't forced to play catch up football."
The Buccs led from start to finish, but there were a couple of scares along the way.
Due to the wet conditions both teams were forced to play a less expansive game than their usual style, but it was a high quality game with great control under difficult circumstances.
Captain and hard-working hooker Pete Davis opened Yamba's score sheet with a try after 10 minutes then the game developed into an arm-wrestle for ground and posesion.
Ballina bounced back with a penalty goal just before half time, Yamba going to the break leading 5-3.
Fifteen minutes into the second half gifted centre Tristan Allard was on the back of three or four good phases from Yamba and broke tackles to score with Liam Jones converting. Yamba led 12-3.
Ballina captain and flanker Chad Duensig brought the score back to 12-10 with a try in the 30th minute and it was really game on.
"It was a little bit to close for comfort," Bennett said.
In the 37th minute, after fluctuating fortunes and good pressure from Yamba, Davis bagged his second try after a series of rolling mauls and with Jones' conversion, Yamba had sealed the leak and went on to victory.
"It was a really good win. There was a lot more enthusiasm and control," Bennett said.
"We were forced to kick more than we're used to but that was due to the conditions. Yards were valuable."
Davis won the Zone points from Allard and Duensig with Davis and Anthony Begg topping the club's points. Half Rob Imeson was awarded the Players' Player.
Yamba tackle University at home next Saturday.