Lennox v lismore for rugby supremacy
The FNC Rugby First Grade grand final will be contested by Lismore and Lennox Head at Crozier Oval on Saturday, September 12.
Lennox Head moved into the grand final after overcoming an improved Ballina 33-29 last Saturday.
Both the Lennox and Ballina teams strived for domination in the first half and Lennox Head was able to put sufficient pressure on the Ballina side to ensure an 18-10 half time lead.
The match looked equally poised for most of the half and with Lennox ahead 11-7 the game was there for the taking by either side. The problem was that the Ballina backs blinked and classy Lennox three-quarter Sam Stewart motored through the defensive line when they were in the Ballina 22 metres zone, which brought up the Lennox's second try for the half under the posts.
In the second half, the Ballina Seahorses woke up and looked for the next gear. Ballina began to gain some momentum as the half progressed, but one thing the Lennox Trojans do well is defend and capitalise on mistakes.
A loose pass and voracious Lennox fullback Tony Buchanan scooted through for a try at a crucial moment after 30 minutes to make the hurdle too high for Ballina. Ballina continued to grind out a strong half and the actual points scored in the second half were 15-19 to Ballina but too little too late.
Ballina winger Ben Robinson, who scored three tries, and hooker Jacques Lotter stood out.
The Lennox team played with flair and determination and Sam Stewart and loose head prop Corey Windle continue to impress with their support game and attention to detail around the park.
The Lismore Rugby Club has capped a successful year and will field teams in four of the five grades played on Saturday.
The Lismore Firsts team have a more intense and structured forward pack than Ballina's, their drive up the middle is a real attacking weapon and Lismore will certainly use that to good effect. Whereas the Lennox Head backs and loose forwards will punish mistakes in the halves or three-quarter line. Lennox have served as the policemen of first grade in the second round making sure that only teams who can back up and effectively support their backs can have the ability to break the gain line and apply pressure in their 22 metres zone. This will be an area for Lismore to concentrate on because, if their backs become isolated, the suspended Lennox tyro Harry Witt's replacement Daniel Watt at no. 7 could well be the next one there and with the ELV laws still in force it is a free kick for every infringement.
The lineout contest between the number 8s, Lennox's jumper at number two Jeff Wilson and Lismore's Ray Taylor, alone will be worth the price of admission.
Other aspects of forward play will be evenly contested and both teams should be able to rely on retaining their ball, but it is in the backs that this game will be decided. Lennox Head's young backs will account well for themselves and their youth and never say die attitude may well pull off what would be a memorable premiership defence from third position on the table. If Lismore can keep clear heads and their passes stick then their forwards could well win the day, but as I mentioned before if you don't support your plays then look to Lennox to make Lismore pay.