Curtain falls on semi-final push
By GRANT NEILSON
THE Maclean Bowling Club Bobcats' slender semi-final chances were finally snuffed out when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Richmond Rovers in the Far North Coast Premier League soccer series on Saturday.
Draws have proven costly for the Bobcats as they have now had five of them and while the front runners are getting three points for a win, a club cannot afford that many.
In a fast-paced match both sides started well but on their homeground the Bobcats were getting the better of the early exchanges.
After 15 minutes the Bobcats hit the front when Rovers did not deal with an Aaron Bylos corner and Aaron Swanson lashed home a shot through a crowded penalty area.
At that point the Bobcats were well on top and maintained the pressure until the halftime break.
However, the game was about to explode in the second half.
Eight minutes after the resumption Rovers were back on level terms, this time after the Bobcats failed to deal adequately with a cross. Rovers stabbed the ball in the far post.
But the real fireworks occurred midway through the half when a Rovers striker crudely hacked down keeper Terry Wratten.
This led to an all-in brawl, something the crowd at Barry Watts Oval had not seen before.
Craig Anderson stepped in and pushed away the striker who was standing over the injured Wratten and to his surprise the striker let go with a flurry of punches which led to players charging in from all over the park.
After the melee was defused Anderson and the striker were both shown the red card and with 10 on 10 the game really opened up but both teams lacked the cutting edge in front of goal to steal a win.
For the Bobcats Cody Wratten was again outstanding and the central midfield triangle of Swanson, Bylos and Kevin Crofton were controlled much of the match.
In the Premier reserves the Bobcats were unluckily edged out 2-1 by the competition leaders.
Rovers scored midway through the first half before Renald Munro pounced on a defensive error to equalise ear- ly in the second half, before a late penalty ? which was originally saved by Braden Dingham ? was poked home on the second attempt by the visitors to take full points.
In the third grade, the Bobcats won 4-1 against the Grafton Gunners with veteran brothers Geoff and Darryl Simmons being joined on the scoresheet by youngsters David and Lance.
Next weekend the Bobcats travel to Lismore to take on Thistles with four games re- maining in the season.