FFNC winners announced

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Peter Keenan - dedicated to Byron Bay FC since 1979

Click here to read the story on the Northern Rivers Echo website

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Football Far North Coast's night of nights, the 2011 senior presentation, was held last Saturday night with the region's best male and female players recognised in front of 250 people at the Lismore Workers Club.

The Northern Rivers Echo male and female Golden Boots were awarded to the leading goal scorers in the Premier men's and women's competitions. This prestigious award resulted in joint winners in the female competition, with Bangalow's Hollie Jarrett and Alstonville's Chelsea Coleman locked at 24 goals each after the pointscore rounds. This was the second time that Jarrett has won this award while Coleman has been the top goal scorer on three occasions. Predatory striker Matthew Olley from Lismore Richmond Rovers was the men's Golden Boot with 18 goals, and remarkably, picked up this award 15 years after winning the same trophy.

The Northern Star female Player of the Year award was shared by 16-year-old Abbie Heffernan of Lismore Richmond Rovers and diminutive Bangalow player Tenneille Shaw.

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Stephen Hegedis scored 23 goals to win the Open Division Golden Boot

The Open Division Golden Boot was awarded to Byron Bay's Stephen Hegedis from men's 6th Division with 23 goals while three players, Penny Greenhalgh from Bangalow Women's 4th Division, Angela Bailey from Goonellabah Women's 4th Division and Tori Smith from Lennox Head Women's 4th Division, could not be separated for the title in the open women's competition.

Coach of the Year in men's Premier Division went to Scott Collis from Lismore Workers Club. Rob Sheehan from Alstonville FC was named women's Premier Division Coach of the Year.

Other awards included Luke Mackney being recognised for the third time as Referee of the Year and Bangalow being crowned as Club Champions.

Pointscore winners in the Men's competition were: Byron Bay in 6th Division, Bangalow in 5th Division, Lennox Head in 4th Division, Goonellabah in 3rd Division, Bangalow in 2nd Division, Lennox Head in 1st Division, Lismore Workers in Premier Reserve and for the fifth time in eight years, Lismore Richmond Rovers in Premier Division.

Pointscore winners in the women's competition were Lennox Head in 4th Division, South Lismore in 3rd Division, Ballina in 2nd Division and Alstonville in Premier Division.

Dedication to Football awards were presented to Wayne Harding from Lismore Thistles, Peter Keenan from Byron Bay FC and Adam Coupe, who was nominated by Casino Soccer Club.

There was much interest in the announcement of the male and female Team of the Year [Kazahiro Tsukamoto from our Premier Squad was among those announced] with debate raging long into the night about who was not selected, even though it was not clear which players should have been left out. A great night was had by all and the spirit of competition between clubs was confirmed as being alive and well.

Steve Mackney

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Kazahiro Tsukamoto - selected for Team of the Year

Super Semi Saturday!

Fingers crossed the rain will hold off for the weekend - with many of our junior teams making it into the semi-final series this year, we have a huge day at Byron fields this weekend. Added to that our Premier Men's and Premier Women's teams as well as our 'Super-6ths' will also be battling it out to take out premiership honours. Games start at 8.30 with the highlight of the day the Men's Premier Division game at 3pm against Lismore workers.

Come on down and support our club teams - kick-off times as follows;

  • 13 Girls - Friday 26th 6pm
  • 15 Girls - Friday 26th 7.15pm
  • 13 Boys - Saturday 8.30am
  • 16 Boys - Saturday 9.45am
  • 12 1st - Saturday 11.15
  • 15 2nds - Saturday 11am
  • Mens 6th Division - Saturday 1pm
  • Mens Premier Division - Saturday 3pm

At other venues;

  • 12 2nds will be playing at Mullumbimby 6pm Friday
  • 14 Girls will be playing at Dunoon 7.30 Friday
  • Premier womens will be playing at Bangalow 8pm Friday

Good luck to all teams and congratulations to the 12 1sts, 13 boys, 16 boys and Men's 6th division on taking out pointscore championships.

five of the best!

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Tim Knight scores a goal for the Rams

After six games without a win, the Rams travelled to Alstonville in desperate need of a win to confirm their finals spot and get back on form.

The disastrous home defeat by Casino was fresh in everyone’s mind but with challengers, Pottsville, having to face Champions Rovers the boys were not too concerned. Shannan Maciejewski sustained an injury against Casino and was ruled out but the return of Sam Owens, Tim Knight and Mav White to the squad was a boost after the disappointing mid-week defeat. Line up for the Alstonville clash was Layton Barton, Mav White, Sam Robson, Bruce Morhaus, Nolan Pierce, Aaron Richter-Steers, Jonnno Pierce, Corey Montgomery, Tommy Ruhl, Kaz Tsukamoto and Jordy Campbell, with subs Ryan Gray, Tim Knight, Toby Barton, Ian Lennie and Sam Owens.

The game started well for the Rams, with lots of possession and effective movement both on and off the ball. With Alstonville safe from relegation, the Rams certainly looked the hungrier side. Byron’s front three, Campbell, Tsukamoto and Ruhl, seemed to gel from kick off and with good support from Pierce and Montgomery, four opportunities were created in the opening minutes.

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Aaron Richter-Steers v Alstonville

Richter-Steers held the mid-field and despite a numerical disadvantage, the Rams continued to rule the mid-field for the remainder of the half.

It took a surprising 28 minutes for the Rams to take a well-deserved lead – the goal finally coming with a thunderous Campbell free-kick from 28 metres out.

At 1-0, the half-time score was a little disappointing, as Byron had all the play and Barton had been a virtual spectator in the Byron goal. Owens replaced Morhaus at the break while Richter-Steers dropped back Owens took the holding mid-field position.

Tim Knight replaced an injured Montgomery at the 50 minute mark.

Ten minutes into the second half the Rams extended their lead with a shot from Tsukamoto from the edge of the box leaving the GK no chance. It was Tsukamoto’s second goal in consecutive games after his sweet volley against Casino earlier in the week.

A defensive lapse and a moment’s hesitation from Barton saw Villa get a glimmer of a hope as Rick Hanna finished well.

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Tom Ruhl v Alstonville

That hope soon faded as the Rams stepped up a gear and played some beautiful football. Tom Ruhl fired in the third for the Byron with a neat right foot finish after  a good control and turn. Sam Owens blasted home the fourth from 22 metres to cap an excellent contribution from the bench.

Knight used his pace down the right to great effect and further chances fell to Campbell and Ruhl. Ryan Gray replaced a tiring but impressive Jon Pierce, Toby Barton came on for Tom Ruhl up front and both subs caused problems for the over-worked Villa mid-field and defence. With very little threat to our goal, all the play was in the Alstonville half. The lead should have been more with great chances missed by both Gray and Knight.

Campbell scored his second and the Rams fifth in the 79th minute with a good finish.

Ian Lennie come on for the impressive Tsukamoto and gave no respite to the Villa back four.

Campbell was Man of the Match with a special mention for Aaron Richter-Steers, in imperious form in both mid-field and at the back. It was a good performance by all players.

Last game for the regular season is at the Byron grounds at 3pm next Saturday against Lismore Workers. The Ram’s four defeats this season all came at home to leave us undefeated on our travels, so an away tie in the finals holds no fears for the Rams.

The reserves won their match 4-1, with goals from Knight, Owens (2 goals in 2 games on the day), Ryan Gray and Herrick Scheunemann. The win coming too late to secure a finals berth.

The Byron Women’s Prems went down 2-1 in a thrilling game on Friday night in the local derby v Bangalow, their probable semi-finals opponents.

John Sowter

The battle for the finals ...

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Jordy Campbell battling the Goonellabah defense

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Saturday July 30 saw a third against fourth clash at the Byron Rec Grounds, with the Rams taking on a Goonellabah side desperate to stay in touch with the leaders.

After three draws in four outings the Rams were eager to get back to winning ways and put some daylight between themselves and the chasing pack.

The Rams line up was: Layton Barton in goal, Mav White, Sam Robson, Nolan Pierce, Bruce Morhaus, Aaron Richter-Steers, Shannan Maciejewski, Sam Owens, Corey Montgomery, Kazahiro Tsukamoto and Jordy Campbell, with Yantra Whitling, Jonno Pierce, Tommy Ruhl, Toby Barton and Tim Knight on the bench.

Byron started brightly and a good move down the right saw an Owens cross brought down by Campbell, the lay off just failing to find Tsukamoto in support. Montgomery made headway down the left, but a well-organised Goonellabah defence coped well with everything the Rams had to offer. The back four were in control and Goonellabah posed little threat as an attacking unit, White, Pierce, Robson & the returning Morhaus coping admirably with everything they had to deal with.

A needless free-kick was given away on the edge of the Rams box to give Goonellabah a sniff of goal. A fairly ordinary effort bounced off Laytons chest and rebounded off the side of a Goonellabah forward’s head and into the net. It pretty much summed up Byron’s recent run of luck. While not exactly a fluke, it was unfortunate.

A hard working and organised Goonellabah mid-field made it difficult for the Rams to build any pressure and with all the Byron players working hard for openings the game settled into a rhythm with wave after wave of Rams attacks snuffed out in the final third.

A succession of corners late in the first half led to three good chances – all squandered – and Byron went into the break a goal down.

More of the same in the second half as attack after attack foundered on a rock-solid Hornets back line, with little threat to the Rams goal at the other end.

It seemed a Byron goal had to come but chances to Campbell, Tsukamoto, Owens, Richter-Steers & Montgomery all went begging.

Ruhl replaced Maciejewski as the Rams pushed three up front and further attacking potential was released as Knight replaced a tiring Owens down the right.

A great piece of control and turn from Campbell brought the save of the day from Robertson in the Hornets goal and with the goal at his mercy, Tsukamoto somehow managed to miss the rebound, hitting a prone Robertson. Another good save, tipped over from a Campbell free kick, led to 6 corners in short time, all handled well by the Hornets’ defence.

Tim Knight did what he had been sent on to do and ripping past a despairing full back whipped in a superb cross to the back post only for Campbell to head over the bar.

Jono Pierce and Yantra Whitling replaced Montgomery and Tsukamoto who were straining for impetus and inspiration but the changes had little effect and, despite a valiant effort, the equaliser just would not come.

With the Rams throwing players forward to desperately chase an equaliser, gaps inevitably began to appear at the back and Arnetts missed from close in when it seemed easier to score.

Another home defeat for the Rams and with another hard away game against Thistles next weekend, the Rams are desperately in need of a victory to get their season back on track.

The reserves went down 2-0 with a disappointing performance to leave their finals hopes all but finished.

Meanwhile, the Byron Women’s Premier Squad assured their finals spot with a fine 5-0 win over Lennox Head on Friday night.

John Sowter

the competition hots up

Premier Mens

After another wet weather week off, the Byron Bay Rams returned to action at Seabreeze against an in-form Pottsville side – the first of a marathon six consecutive away games for the Rams.

A spate of injuries, suspensions and unavailability saw the Rams return to a more traditional 4-4-2 formation with Layton Barton in goal, Toby Barton, Sam Robson, Nolan Pierce and Ian Lennie at the back, Aaron Richter-Steers, Tim Knight, Mav White and Yantra Whitling in mid-field with Jordy Campbell and Jonno Pierce up front. With a such fast line-up, a high tempo and an aggressive start from the Rams was to be expected. The Rams pack tore into Pottsville with controlled power and speed. Knight, Pierce and Whitling caused havoc up and down the flanks while Richter-Steers, in imperious form in the mid-field, delivered passes around the park at will. Campbell was in tremendous form up front and never gave the Pottsville defenders a moment’s respite. A goal seemed sure to come as Richter-Steers hit the post from close, Tim Knight hit the keeper and chances fell to Barton, Whitling, Pierce, Richter-Steers and White.

Mav slotted into the mid-field partnership with Richter-Steers like an old hand and despite the age difference, the pair played like old mates to totally control the middle of the park. Campbell saw plenty of action, and with Pierce, Knight, White and Whitling surging forward in support it was a busy night for the stretched Pottsville defence.

The game remained – surprisingly – scoreless at the break, so the half time talk was simple: ‘more of the same but put the ball in the net’.

The Rams came out fired up for the second half and Pottsville strugglied to hold on. Sam Robson and Toby Barton hammered the Pottsville defence with supporting overlaps and a rampant Tim Knight caused havoc with his great pace down the right.

Campbell was again busy, always involved and playing the target role to great effect. With swarms of pacy youngsters playing off his deft touches it seemed a goal had to come. Campbell forced a good save from the keeper after a neat control and turn and was unlucky not to have scored.

Jonno Pierce finally broke the deadlock in the 54th minute, firing the ball home after some great combination work from Knight and Campbell.

There was no let up from the Rams, with White and Richter-Steers surging forward in support. A powerful turn-and-shoot from Campbell was parried by the keeper, only to be driven home cooly from 8 metres out by Yantra Whitling.

Tommy Ruhl replaced a tiring Knight in the 75th minute – Knight returning to the side for his first start of the season to perform well.

Sloppy defending allowed Pottsville a glimmer of hope, with a well taken goal in the 80th minute reducing the deficit. It was a wake up call the Rams needed and with skipper Lennie and Richter-Steers leading by example, the ship was steadied and the Rams held on for three thoroughly deserved points.

Further chances in the final few minutes should have seen the goal count reflect Byron’s overall superiority but, as has happened so often this year, the Rams failed to finish many opportunities.

Mav White was man-of-the-match with a great game in mid-field. Jordy Campbell was in great form and stand out games from Richter-Steers and Lennie laid the foundation for a fine team performance.

Barton was never in trouble in goal and Sam Robson at left back displayed his usual excellence. Nolan Pierce is settling into his defensive role with assurance and aplomb and older brother Jon is back to his penetrative best.

Overall, a good win for Byron against quality opposition.

Premier Reserves

The reserves continued their good form with a solid 3-1 win. Corey Montgomery returned to action following his recent off-field injury to score the opener, only to have the Rams pegged back by a blinding goal from wide right. The lead was restored by Jack White with a cool and clinical finish from 12metres. White added his second in the second half to take the Reserves to another well-deserved win.

Mens Sixth Division

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Evergreen Keenan scores for the Sixths

It was a miserable day for Pottsville as the soar-away Byron 6ths continued their unbeaten run with a fine 3-0 win in the first game of the day. The years rolled back with goals from evergreen Pete Keenan and a bullet header from Ian McGlone following up the game’s first minute opener.

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Bullet-Headed Ian McGlone

Mens First Division and Premier Womens

Byron’s First Division squad went down 3-0 and the Women’s Premier squad drew 3-3 with Rovers in the Friday night game to remain in title contention.

John Sowter

Rams on the run with three games in a week

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Shannan Maciejewski - Man of the Match v Rovers

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A tough, tough week for the Byron Bay prems with three games in seven days. After a hard-fought win over Stars the preceding weekend, The Rams made the trek to Casino for another tough clash on Tuesday, June 21.

Casino, returning to the Premier Division after several years’ absence, started the season slowly but hit form with three wins on the trot – including a fine 3-1 away win at over champions, Rovers. The Rams Tuesday night line-up was Layton Barton in goal, Toby Barton and Sam Robson at full backs, Nolan Pierce and Ian Lennie in central defence, Aaron Richter-Steers central mid-field, Jon Pierce down the right, Sam Owens down the left and Shannan Maciejewski, Kazahiro Tsukamoto and Jordy Campbell took the front.

The game started at pace with lively incursions from both teams. Two chances went begging as the Rams began to gain the upper hand. An unfortunate hand-ball by a Casino defender saw Byron awarded a penalty. Jordy Campbell’s misplaced strike was deflected by the Casino Keeper’s knees on to the boot of the pursuing Richter-Steers who tapped it into the net.

With a goal in hand, the Rams began to play some lovely football, carving through a stretched Casino defence at will. Campbell redeemed himself with a fine finish for a second goal. The Byron boys played superbly with Pierce and Owens causing Casino problems down the flanks, over-lapping runs from both full backs, great support play from Maciejewski and Richter-Steers and chance after chance created – but not finished.

A long free kick from the Casino half caught the Byron defence napping and forced a superb save from keeper Barton. The ball rebounded to the feet of a supporting Casino player who slotted it home very nicely from 20m.

Play see-sawed from end to end until the Rams gradually regained control and restored their two goal cushion with a fine strike from Jon Pierce that left the Casino keeper with no chance at all.

At half-time and 3-1, a tiring Owens was replaced by Corey Montgomery.

It was more of the same in the second half with chance after chance created and squandered while Casino fought hard, ran, chased and harried and kept themselves in the game. The Rams should have been well clear but a speculative cross in the 88th minute sailed over Barton and into the net. There were some difficult moments for Byron as Casino pressed for an equaliser. Byron held them out and managed another two missed chances. (As the competition moves towards the finals, the Rams inability to finish the chances it creates is becoming a critical.) It was another hard-fought game against a good, honest, hard working Casino side. The Cobras should have no problems staying in the Premier Division on current form.

Good performances from Rams Jonno Pierce, Ian Lennie, Nolan Pierce, Sam Owens, Shannan Maciejewski, Sam Robson and man of the match Toby Barton. Montgomery did well as substitute and Richter-Steers was his usual majestic self.

The reserves came from behind to draw 1 – 1 in a great game of entertaining football, Herik Scheunemann scoring a wonder goal to level after an early defensive mix up let Casino in for the opener. Good games for Tom Baker, Todd Jones and Mav White.

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Jonno Pierce v Rovers

The week Culminated with the visit to the Byron grounds of reigning champions, Richmond Rovers. With the Lismore club top of the table and the Rams in second, it was the match of the round.

As wet weather catch-up games are played, a clearer picture of the top of the table is emerging, with Lismore powerhouses Rovers and Thistles, the ever impressive Goonellabah and Byron Bay occupying the top 4.

The Rams’ starting line-up was the same as for the Casino game, with the returning Bruce Morhaus replacing Kazahiro (who had an exam) up front.

Byron started brightly and settled well. Richter-Steers and Maciejewski ran the mid-field and moved the ball quickly causing constant problems for the well organised and competitive Rovers back line. Young full backs Barton and Robson were a constant threat on the overlap and kept Rovers’ speedsters, See and Scicluna contained. Pierce and Lennie were in commanding form at the back, handling everything Rovers had to offer.

Rovers are a Champion side and there is never a time to relax against them. The Rams were lucky to get away with a lapse in concentration in the 30th minute that saw a Rovers player shoot wide when well placed.

Byron stepped up the pace, trying to force a goal before the break and good work down both flanks from Pierce and Owens led to chances that, again, went begging. Morhaus went down with a pulled hamstring in the 42nd minute to be replaced by late arrival Kazahiro.

Although scoreless at the break, the Rams had dominated the first half in possession and chances.

The second half saw three good chances fall to Campbell, two to Kazahiro and more to others, but for all of the pressure, the Rams just couldn’t score on the day. Layton Barton was excellent in goals, the back four superb and the mid-field outstanding going forward and in defence. Campbell, Kazahiro and Morhaus were tireless and threatening up front. The Rams contained the ever-threatening Rovers front line, got the ball down and played some class football, down the flanks and up the middle, to great effect.

After playing so well, it was disappointing to come away without the win.

A good performance from all, however, and a great display of quality local football. Shannan Maciejewski was named man of the match.

The reserves went down 4-0 after playing with 10 men from the 34th minute following Korhan Ozakman’s dismissal for two very silly yellow cards when the Rams were obviously well on top. Good games for Farren, Tom Baker and Man of the Match, Herik Scheunemann, 1st division went down 4-1 to Burringbar, 3rd Division went down 4-0 to Thistles despite a sterling effort.

4th Division played well but went down 2-1 and the still unbeaten 6th Division had a great 2-1 win over a strong Rovers side, Paul Scharka getting off his skateboard to fire in the winner with an impressive 270 deg flick back.

A weakened Womens Premier League squad went down 8-0 in the local derby v Bangalow on Friday night but returned to winning ways with a fine 1-0 win over Workers on Sunday.

John Sowter

Byron's delightful double

Identical 16-year-old twins Bridget (left) and Sophie Thomson play for Byron Bay in the Solahart Women’s Premier competition.

I watch many games of football every week and players start to look the same after a while. This is particularly true for junior teams when boys and girls can be very difficult to distinguish, particularly with my limited eyesight. I am very interested in knowing as many players as possible and fortunately all competitive teams have numbered shirts. Working out who is who can be tricky, especially when I have heard parents calling out support for their own child, only to realise that the blonde headed kid is in fact not “their” blonde headed kid….Whoops!!

Easy mistake to make sometimes and for Gary and Melissa Thomson, this situation has occurred many times. These parents have a legitimate excuse however because they are the parents of identical twin girls. Sophie and Bridget Thomson are two delightfully vibrant young ladies who are part of a unique group of people who are physically identical.

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Sophie tipped as potential great

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STAR Byron Bay soccer recruit Sophie Thomson has so much potential as a goalkeeper that Australian Matildas head coach Tom Sermanni believes she has “all the requirements to be great”. The former Tintenbar player was the pick of all goalkeepers at the Under-17 State Championships at Coffs Harbour last June where she made the All Stars team that lost 1-0 against Metropolitan NSW. Thomson was off the field when her side conceded that goal and she only let in one goal for the whole tournament.

She also captained the All Stars outfit.

Talent scouts then had no choice but to pick the 16-year-old in the Young Matildas squad that will travel to Asia in November as they look to qualify for the Youth World Cup in Germany.

General manager of Football Far North Coast Steve Mackney has overseen Thomson’s rise through the ranks.

“Sermanni told me that: ‘Sophie has all the requirements to be great’,” he said.

“She has great hands, anticipation, judgement and above all a great attitude.

“She’s so down to earth.”

Click here to read the full story from the Northern Star