Buccaneers beat Murwillumbah
THE Yamba Buccaneers journeyed north on Saturday to take on Murwillumbah in the inaugural match between the clubs.
To state that the game failed to reach any great heights would be an understatement. In a faltering, uninspired performance, Yamba did enough to come away with a 12-0 victory.
In addition to the Buccaneers’ lack of enthusiasm, Murwillumbah’s spoiling tactics, a greasy pitch and a South African referee did little to enhance the game’s appeal as a spectacle.
From the kick-off, Yamba enjoyed by far the better of possession and territory but poor execution continually prevented any realistic try-scoring opportunities.
The ball carrier either became isolated, resulting in turnovers to the opposition, or lack of effective cleanout at the breakdown led to slow recycling of possession, denying Yamba time and space in which to attack.
Buccaneers No.8 Grant Rooks scored Yamba’s only try of the first half when he fielded a poor clearing kick from Murwillumbah’s fly half and charged across the line. Kris Thomsen failed to convert and the visitors went to the break leading 5-0. Early in the second stanza, Yamba won an opposition lineout in Murwillumbah’s quarter and spread the ball quickly across field for centre Ben Olsen to score in the corner. Thomsen this time added the extras to take the score to 12-0 with the promise of more points.
But the match degenerated into a rather ugly affair with inconclusive rucks and mauls and handling errors being the chief features. To Murwillumbah’s credit, their tenacious defence and employment of disruptive tactics did not allow Yamba to take control of the game. This frustrated their more vaunted rivals, eventuating in Rooks adding to his burgeoning collection of yellow cards late in the match before referee Enrico Barone blew his whistle for the umpteenth time to mercifully conclude proceedings.
Lunch at the historic Billinudgel Hotel was definitely the highlight of the day for this correspondent. Yamba’s next appearance will be at home to fierce cross-river rivals Iluka on June 19. What this local derby sometimes lacks in finesse makes up for in passion.