FULL FORCE: Yamba Buccanette Judy Vesper runs the ball in the 17-14 preliminary final win against the Ballina Seahorses in Lismore on Saturday. The Buccanettes will now play in their first ever grand final against Wollongbar-Alstonville Pioneers this weekend.
FULL FORCE: Yamba Buccanette Judy Vesper runs the ball in the 17-14 preliminary final win against the Ballina Seahorses in Lismore on Saturday. The Buccanettes will now play in their first ever grand final against Wollongbar-Alstonville Pioneers this weekend. Graham Mackie

BITTERSWEET: Buccanettes fly high as Buccaneers fall

RUGBY UNION: Five months ago the Yamba Buccanettes embarked on their inaugural season in the Far North Coast women's sevens competition.

If a 52-0 opening win over the Southern Cross University Gold Rats wasn't enough of a statement, they now find themselves preparing for the grand final after a historic 17-14 preliminary win over Ballina Seahorses on Saturday.

Coach Kris Thomsen couldn't quite believe it when the final siren went in the epic win.

"I'm still in shock,” Thomsen said.

"I know a lot of the girls were stunned, I just can't believe how well they played. I'm incredibly happy with the way it panned out.”

Thomsen said the key to the game was in the barnstorming start after a quick try to his side.

"We were quick off the mark with the early try and that gave us a hell of a lot of confidence for the rest of the game,” he said.

Yamba's drive was matched by Ballina as they regained the lead late in the first half but a team talk gave them the firepower to come out and play some brilliant rugby.

"We definitely fell off a bit and allowed them back in the game but they demonstrated what we instilled in them all year at half time and in the second half they definitely lifted their game,” he said.

"Mishika Randall really lifted the girls and Judy Vesper was fantastic as always but it was real team effort and the girls went about things the right way.”

Yamba's Presidents Cup side weren't as fortunate, with their season coming to a disappointing end after a 21-17 defeat to rivals Iluka Cossacks.

BROUGHT TO A HALT: Buccaneers skipper Robbie Hill is tackled by a relentless Iluka Cossacks defence in their 21-17 preliminary final loss in Lismore on Saturday.
BROUGHT TO A HALT: Buccaneers skipper Robbie Hill is tackled by a relentless Iluka Cossacks defence in their 21-17 preliminary final loss in Lismore on Saturday. Graham Mackie

"It was a bit of a bitter-sweet day, we lost with the guys before I had to go and coach the girls. Me and Pat Hughes both played in game and we still hadn't really processed what had just happened,” he said.

"They really played to their potential, they're always up for a local derby. I think that's something we'll take away from this year, we need to be more prepared for those bigger games.

"We've notoriously started slow this year and that happened again, it's one of those things where it's too little too late and you're waiting on calls to go your way and chasing the game. But best wishes to Iluka in the grand final, they've been strong competitors so I hope they can go on and get the win.”

Thomsen's side now prepares for a huge clash with Wollongbar-Alstonville next weekend.

"The club couldn't be prouder of the girls and we'll be trying to get as much support behind them as we can. Hopefully they can do it again, they've earned their place and now they're out to prove it,” he said.



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