NRRRL: Bombers edge Northern United
A PENALTY goal to Evans Head hooker Nathan Walmsley sealed a hard-fought 26-24 win over Northern United on Saturday in the first round of Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League.
The sharpshooter was never going to miss from directly in front after one of the Dirawongs players was penalised for being offside in the dying minutes at Stan Payne Oval, Evans Head.
The Bombers had the momen- tum at the time and turned down a penalty kick at goal only a few minutes earlier.
Evans Head winger James Slade showed what he was capable of with his third try of the afternoon, a spectacular aerial effort in the corner to lock the scores at 24-all.
"I've had a few of them like that but that last one will stay with me for a while," Slade said.
"We were getting a few penalties at the end there so I thought we would probably end up on top.
"But we knew it was going to be hard game and we're happy to get the win at home.
"I've been up and down the past few years but hopefully I can cement a spot in the team this season."
Earlier, it looked like it might have been one-way traffic after Slade scored early tries to give the Bombers a 10-0 lead.
However, the Dirawongs eventually found their rhythm after tries to centres Clarence Kelly and Bill King.
Kelly had some classy touches throughout with his second try giving United a 18-10 lead.
It was only through some individual brilliance from halfback Trevor Bolt that the home side was able to hit back with a try next to the posts right on the half-time siren.
The arm wrestle continued in the second half before Evans Head centre Fred Pitt was able to cross the line to put the Bombers back in front 20-18.
It was fitting that Dirawongs lock Alwyn Roberts scored next after a massive effort throughout the game.
Walmsley was solid at hooker after playing fullback last season while new five-eighth Cameron Dennis looks to have plenty of skill.
In the other Saturday game, Casino beat Tweed Coast Raiders 24-20 at Les Burger Field, Cabarita.
EVANS HEAD 26 (J Slade 3, T Bolt, F Pitt tries; N Walmsley 4 goals) d NORTHERN UNITED 24 (C Kelly 2, B King, A Roberts tries; A Gordon 4 goals).