Buccs rule in Village Comp
THE Yamba Buccaneers proved they are ready to step up to first grade rugby union next year – should they want to – after a thumping win in the Far North Coast Village competition grand final on Saturday.
Yamba gave the Kyogle Cockies a touch-up at Crozier Field in Lismore, taking the silverware with a 51-7 victory.
The Buccaneers’ win put an end to the five-year dynasty of Bangalow, which had won the Village competition every year from 2005 to 2009.
This year Bangalow were bundled out by Byron Bay in the minor semi-final two weeks ago.
That same weekend, Yamba progressed to the grand final with a comfortable win over Kyogle 17-0 in the major semi.
With Kyogle ending Byron’s season last weekend, the match between the Buccaneers and the Cockies wasn’t expected to end in a blow-out scoreline.
But after putting on the first try, the Cockies were unable to keep up the pressure against Yamba, as the relentless minor premiers, who won every match of the competition season, began to dominate possession.
After leading 21-7 at half-time, the Buccaneers put their foot down in the second half, frequently making light work of a tiring Kyogle defence.
Yamba eventually put on seven tries to one, with winger Cohen Rheinberger bagging a double.
Afterwards Buccaneers coach Tim Gooley said he was pleased with the way his troops had weathered Kyogle’s opening salvos.
“We knew the first 25 minutes was where they’d try to win the game and play really hard,” he said.
“We knew our fitness and our game plan would work if we held out for the first 25. We went behind early but we scored the next 51 points.”
“We’ve been training real hard so I thought our fitness would be good.
“I was just stoked for the boys. We worked so hard. Just stoked we could do it on the day.”
Gooley said he was thrilled with the result, particularly given the skinny playing roster the Buccaneers had assembled at the start of the season.
“At the start of the year, to be honest, we didn’t know if we’d have a side,” he said.
“We lost a lot of players. But we ended up getting a good side together.
“We didn’t have a lot of depth but knew if we could keep our blokes injury free we’d have a good year.”
As for the possible move to first grade next year, Gooley said it would all depend on the playing roster.
“We’d love to play first grade but the reality is the player numbers,” he said. “We only have 23 players this year but we’re probably losing six.
“If we can get the numbers we’d love to, but the reality is it’ll probably be difficult.”
Wayne Millane from Far North Coast Rugby said he was hopeful Yamba’s victory would see the side step up to first grade from the Village Competition next year.
With only seven sides fielding a first grade team in 2010, rugby administrators will be keen to have the top flight feature eight sides in 2011.
“Hopefully Yamba will step up to first grade and make the transition,” Millane said.
“They have been the form team in the Village competition so hopefully it happens.”
But before then, there is a grand final win to celebrate.
“These games are won in the forwards. Our front row was really good. Pat Day was great. Our captain had a huge game. Kris Thomsen directs our side at 5/8 he was also a key,” said Yamba Captain Luke Turner:
“It feels pretty good; a bit better than last year. We came here and lost the grand final by two points. To return back here and win it like that with that margin was pretty good.
“We had some pretty tough battles [with Kyogle] this year but the boys dug in and did well.
“Our forwards set a good platform for the backs which needed it.
“You just don’t expect things to happen like that in a grand final and for them to come off.”
Kyogle coach Isaac Royal said his team had a bad preparation through the week and a lot of injuries but never gave up trying on the day.
YAMBA 51 (Cohen Rheinberger 2, Pat Day, Grant Rookes, Timoci Seminaoli, Scott Moore, Tristan Allard, James O’Hara tries; Kris Thomsen 4 conversions, penalty goal) d KYOGLE 7 (Chris Duley try; Jared Newton conversion). Half-time: 21-7.