Bananas finally bend
A WET, windswept Yamba Oval was the venue for the clash between the Buccaneers and the Murwillumbah Rugby Club in the President's Cup on Saturday.
Heavily favoured to win, Yamba had to overcome a spirited Bananas performance before emerging 27-7 winner.
The monster Murwillumbah forward pack revelled in the heavy conditions and the early penalty count supplied the Bananas with near continuous possession of the ball.
Controversial whistle-blower Graham Cook dispelled any suggestion that his rugby knowledge might be waning as he treated the Yamba Oval crowd to a master class in the laws of the game.
Despite the territorial disadvantage, Yamba's young flyhalf Nathan Rheinberger posted the first points of the match in the tennis court corner.
The Bananas replied soon after with a converted try to lead 7-5 and continued to apply the blowtorch to the Buccaneers' belly. Only determined defence from the home team prevented the visitors from going further ahead. The most decisive point of the match occurred shortly before half-time, when, during a rare excursion into Murwillumbah territory, Grant Rooks scored a try to the left of the posts. Rheinberger converted to give Yamba a 12-7 lead at oranges.
Upon resumption, the assistance of the breeze and superior fitness gave the Buccaneers a decided advantage.
Murwillumbah defended grimly until a try by inside centre Tristan Allard 12 minutes after the break.
This gave Yamba a 17-7 lead and two late tries to No.8 Ben Olsen blew the final result out to 27-7 in the Buccaneers' favour.
The score might have blown out much further against a flagging Bananas outfit if not for crucial Yamba passes going to ground during numerous attacks.
Yamba's best and fairest
Dan Cowling 3pts
Julian May 2pts
Ben Olsen 1pt
Openside flanker Rooks, hooker Brody Rheinberger and utility Stephen Hinds were also prominent throughout.