Buccaneers send Mitch off in fine style
By Tony White
THE Pacific Hotel Yamba Buccaneers bade club stalwart Mitch McLennan a perfect bon voyage on Saturday scoring a rousing 19-7 defeat of Southern Cross University (SCU) in Lismore.
McLennan, the tenacious lock forward who began his career with the Buccaneers as a junior, is departing Australia for England to travel, work and play rugby.
"We didn't over focus on it being Mitch's last game, but everyone knew and they were all committed to sending him off on a good note," coach Andrew Bennett said.
McLennan, returned to Yamba a couple of years back after playing for Warringah where he won the Rookie of the Year award.
At the end of the game, all the Buccaneers players warmly congratulated McLennan and he was the centre of attention when the 'Bucs' sang their team song in the middle of the ground.
"He's been a great club man. He gives a lot of go-forward and always makes plenty of yards and defensively he offers a lot too," Bennett said. "We all wish him well on his journey."
Bennett said he would not name a replacement until after training on Thursday.
And the win was also noteworthy from a sponsorship angle with players wearing new shorts logo's featuring new sponsors, Clarence Coast Air Conditioning and Refrigeration.
With three wins from four games, the Buccaneers are enjoying a great start to the season and are no longer considered easy beats as was the perception when returning to first grade last season.
League convert Liam Jones opened the Buccaneers scoring with a penalty goal after 15 minutes, then Luke Turner was awarded a push over try five minutes later.
The Buccaneers went further ahead after another Jones penalty goal to lead 11-nil.
Thirty seconds before half time however, a poor kick and chase by the Buccaneers resulted in SCU's Henry Vanderglas racing 50m to score to go to the break 11-7.
For nearly 30 minutes of the second stanza, SCU threw everything at Yamba.
SCU were all but camped in Yamba's 25m zone, but with brave defence and the odd slice of luck, Yamba managed to hold SCU at bay.
"They had nearly all the possession and field position. The boys made tackle after tackle and every player worked themselves to a stand still," Bennett said.
"That was a really pleasing aspect. They had to commit themselves and they did."
After 30m, Yamba finally broke out with Jones scoring a good try to lead 16-7.
A further penalty by Jones inside the final five minutes took the final score to 19-7.
Bennett said he was happy with the scrums, Yamba disrupting SCU with good drive, but SCU's Vanderglas and Daniel Doyle managed to disrupt Yamba's lineout.
Lee Everett was named man of the match and players' player. Prop Ben Lardner picked up two points and Kane Aeschlimann, one.