Wollongbar/Alstonvilles valiant year has come to an end after the Pioneers lost their last round match to Casino 29-10. In a tough battle upfront Bulls hooker Joe Mohammed turned on a Man-of-the-Match performance, crossing for a try as the men from the beef capital snatched a bonus point and second spot on the ladder, ahead of Ballina on point score average.
Despite being pipped for second the Seahorses turned on a great display of running rugby, scoring nine tries in a 55-14 point romp against Southern Cross University.
In the other match of note Yamba succumbed to the forward might of Grafton 13-10 as their mostly reserve front row crumbled under the weight of the Redmens tight five. The close loss, in a match that could have gone either way, means Yamba slipped from second to fourth.
Consequently this weekend the minor semi final will be between Ballina and Yamba down at Quay Reserve in Ballina at 3.30pm. Although the Seahorses have the home ground advantage the Buccaneers have been their bogey team all year.
Theyve had the wood on us all season, said Ballinas coach Karl Lupton. Theyve beaten us both times we played them, but if we play to our potential then we should win. They play an open style and it should be a good game to watch.
Yambas coach Andrew Bennett wasnt taking anything from the earlier season wins either.
Does it mean weve got the wood on them or that they are just getting our measure? Andrew asked. Whats interesting is that this is the first time we have made the first grade semi finals in the history of the club. Im also told by our clubmen that we have won more games this year in first grade than in the clubs entire history. Anyway, were good enough to make the grand final and thats what well be playing for.
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