Unlucky Last!


With their positions in both Reserves and Premier Division finals series locked in, the Park Hotel Byron Bay Rams hosted two strong Lismore Workers teams on Saturday’s finale round of the FFNC championship. The Rams Reserves, finishing in fifth spot on the competition ladder took on second placed Workers in what proved to be a dogged battle for dominance and goals.

Despite impressive work from Benny Ahern, Jonathan Pierce, Dakota Dixon-King and Connor Cannon, the Redmen were just too strong for the Byron boys. Workers found the net three times while Steve Kirkpartrick put Byron’s only goal on the board with a clinical finish.

In the Premier Division, It was a tough final Round for Byron’s Minor Premiers who couldn’t seem to win a trick. The play was all Byron’s way from the beginning but a spectacular ‘goal-of-the-season’ from Connor Cannon was disallowed for a high foot infringement.

A controversial (aren’t they all?) penalty and another red card for Byron defender Sam McIntyre gave Workers a tenuous lead and reduced the Rams to ten men before half time. A gutsy performance saw the 10-man Rams continue to dominate after the break, with sustained attacks from Kazuhiro Tsukamoto, James Tomlinson, Connor Cannon and Barry Woods putting the pressure on the Workers defence and keeper, Simon Cleaver.

It was a fine performance from the Rams, who, despite losses in the final rounds, go into the finals series on top and as solid favourites for a second consecutive title.

The win takes Workers into second place, pending the outcome of the Rovers-V-Thistles clash on Tuesday night.

[mainpic]        MAINPIC / Oh so close! A header from Barry Woods was just one of many very close calls for the Rams. click any image to view the full gallery / all images © Dogwhistle Creative[/mainpic]

Tick tock!


The pendulum swung true on Saturday when the Park Hotel Byron Bay Rams travelled to Lismore to meet arch rivals Lismore Thistles for the penultimate round of the 2014 season. The Reserve grade match was yet another frustrating outing for the Byron boys. The second string Rams, despite totally dominated proceedings in the first half, couldn’t seem to find the net. The Thistles reserves, conversely, rarely made it into Rams territory but did manage to win a penalty and lead 1-0 into the break.

The second half saw more Rams attacks broken on the Thistles defence until a late cross from Tane Meek found the head of Steve Kirkpatrick who in turn found the net to equalise and salvage a point for Byron.

The Premier Rams fared no better. With the Minor Premiership already secured, the Rams Prems had little to play for beyond their long standing rivalry with Thistles. The Lismore squad, however had second spot in their sights and a lot of pride on the line.

While still down a couple of key personnel, the Rams played their usual fast and efficient football but seemed to lack the hunger and passion of the Thistles. Despite solid performances from the entire team, and the outstanding work-rate Kazuhiro Tsukamoto, Michael Kelly, Barry Wood and Jono Pierce, the Rams’ never quite hit their straps.

Tsukamoto ran riot among the Thistles defence and James Tomlinson had yet another titanic battle with Thistles towering defender, Max Hospers, but the Rams remained scoreless. Thistles once again made the most of their forays into Rams territory and finished a gruelling match two goals up.

Byron keeper, Chris Jones, lost his usual composure after Thistles' second goal and found himself looking at a red card. Coach Damon Bell will have to find a replacement keeper for the final match of the season against Lismore Workers.

The final round, a home game for the Rams, will most likely decide who takes second spot for 2014 and will undoubtedly be another hard-fought battle.

Reserves kick off at 1pm and the Prems at 3pm.

[mainpic]        MAINPIC / Rams midfielder Barry Woods flies high click any image to view the full gallery / all images © Dogwhistle Creative[/mainpic]

Byron bags the 2014 Minor Premiership!


Last year’s Major Premiership winners, the Park Hotel Byron Bay Rams, have sewn up the 2014 Football Far North Coast Premier Division minor premiership with a solid win over a valiant Goonellabah. After springing Bangalow’s offside-trap strategy and handing the ‘Dogs their biggest defeat of the season (4-1) in the previous round – the Rams enjoyed a week off before Sunday’s visit from Goonellabah.

The Rams Reserves set the tone for the day, with a powerful display that netted six impressive goals - two each to Steve Kirkpatrick and Javier Herrais and one apiece to Sam Owens and Herick Schuenemann. The win boosts the Reserves finals aspirations, giving them a five point margin over sixth placed Goonellabah and putting them in hot pursuit of fourth placed Alstonville – one point down with two rounds remaining.

In the day’s headline match, Goonellabah’s Premier division squad put in a gritty and determined performance against the reigning champs. The Byron back-line worked hard to contain a spirited attack from the Hornets and the Rams went into the break one goal up after a high-flying header from Sam McIntyre.

The second half saw the Rams a little more fired up and in control. Goals from James Tomlinson and late substitute Jonathan Pierce took the champs to a hard earned 3-0 victory.

A nine point lead with two rounds to go has secured the 2014 Minor Premiership and Damon Bell’s all-conquering Rams now have their eyes firmly fixed on finals series. A win in the Grand Final would give Byron their second consecutive Major Premiership and their first double since 2006.

Next Saturday, the Rams meet their Anzac Cup nemesis in Lismore for what promises to be another tough and fiery encounter. Reserves kick off at 1pm and the Prems at 3pm.

[mainpic]        MAINPIC / James Packham and Nick Baker hold the line in the Byron defence click any image to view the full gallery / all images © Dogwhistle Creative[/mainpic]

Back in the House


After last week’s first loss of the season loss to Richmond Rovers, the Park Hotel Byron Bay Rams took to their home ground on Saturday determined to make amends. An ambitious Alstonville squad was equally determined to give the championship leaders a run for their money.

 The Rams reserves, battling to keep their finals hopes alive, opened the account in a tough and gritty encounter with a 4th placed Villa.

An early goal from stand in striker Connor Cannon was answered by Alstonville and the match went into the break locked at 1-1.

A very soft pair of yellow cards saw a career-first red to Tane Meek that rallied the Rams and a cracking goal from Jonathan Pierce broke the deadlock.

The 10-man Byron squad took control for the remainder of the match and a late goal from Steve Kilpatrick sealed a gutsy 3-1 win. Outstanding work from Theo Pavil, Jono Pierce, Ben Ahern, Tai Flanagan and young Keeper Isaac.

 In the Premier Division match, the Rams top squad were frequently forced onto the back foot by an enthusiastic Alstonville team bent on taking points from the reigning champions.

The Rams retained the upper hand, however, with tireless Byron mid Kazahiro Tsukamoto a major force throughout the game. A constant threat to the Villa defence, Kaz had a hand in all three of the Byron goals. A Kazahiro cross to Connor Cannon who found the net opened the scoring for Byron in the second half.

With two more goals from Barry Woods and Lachie Dewar, Byron looked to have the game well in hand but a late surge from the young Alstonvillers yielded a second goal and had the Rams defending hard down to the wire for a 3-2 win.

With just four games remaining this season and a nine point lead over second placed Rovers, the Rams can nail down the minor premiership with a win over the Bluedogs in next Tuesday’s local derby at Bangalow. Reserves kick off at 6pm and the Prems at 8pm.

[mainpic]        MAINPIC / Goal number three came from midfielder Lachie Dewar click any image to view the full gallery / all images © Dogwhistle Creative[/mainpic]

Rams in the Red


Saturday’s inauspicious Round 13 of the Premier Division competition saw the Park Hotel Byron Bay Rams’ 12-game winning streak come to an end. Wearing the red away strip In a dogged battle with Richmond Rovers, the Rams lacked their usual confidence and composure. The Rams Reserves set the tone, going down to Rovers in a 6-1 drubbing. The second string Rams couldn’t seem to pull it together and were overrun by an enthusiastic and hungry Rovers side.

The Premier Rams battled hard against an even more determined Rovers side in the top-squad match. Byron dominated proceedings for the first 30 minutes and, despite having the run play for much of the match, couldn’t overcome Rovers hunger, spectacular theatrics and attacking game-plan.

Rovers first half goal, thirty minutes in, lit the fire under the Lismore attack and a second goal gave them a handy lead.

Unaccustomed to playing catchup, the Rams struggled to find their rhythm. A late header from Sam Owens finally put Byron on the board and inspired a flurry of attacks that had the Lismore defence scrambling. The Rovers keeper parried shot after shot after shot, and despite spirited Bryon attacks in the final moments the final score held at 2-1.

Lismore Thistles also succumbed to the Round 13 hoodoo, also going down 2-1 to low-ranked Ballina to leave the Rams’ eight point lead intact.

Round 14 has Byron facing an ambitious Alstonville squad at home this Saturday. Reserves from 1pm and the Prems at 3pm.

[mainpic]        MAINPIC / Another power drive from Connor Cannon kept the Rovers Keeper on his toes click any image to view the full gallery / all images © Dogwhistle Creative[/mainpic]

Rams Take Ballina Head-On!


The Park Hotel Byron Bay FC Rams used their heads in overcoming a tenacious Ballina Seagulls in Round 12 of the Football Far North Coast Premier Division Championships on Saturday, with four of their five goals from headers. No joy for the Rams Reserves, however, as this season’s finishing hoodoo continued to haunt the squad. Despite their clear superiority and some quick and decisive play, the number two Rams again failed to take advantage of countless chances and had to settle for another disappointing draw. If the boys don’t start finding the net soon, they may see their finals hopes evaporate.

In stark contrast, Byron’s Premier League leaders wasted no time getting points on the board. A lightning run by flanker Jonathan Pierce caught the Seagulls defence flat-footed. Pierce’s pinpoint cross found the head of Kazahiro Tsukamoto and the Rams took the lead inside the first minute.

Determined not to go down without a fight, the tough Ballina side hit back with a surprise equaliser and dug in to hold the line at 1-1 into the break.

The Rams took to the field for the second session fired up and goal hungry. Totally dominating the play, Byron’s ‘ten-man attack’ shifted into gear, peppering the Ballina goal with shots from all ranges and angles. Two headers from James Tomlinson took the Rams to a 3-1 lead and yet another header from Tsukamoto made it 4-1. A deft tap in the closing minutes gave Tomlinson a hat-trick against his old team and took the final score to 5-1.

After twelve rounds and twelve wins, the Rams sit comfortably at the top of the Premier League table with a commanding eight point lead and an average of four and a half goals per game.

Next Saturday has the Byron squad in Lismore for the season’s second match against Richmond Rovers. It promises to be a tough match, with Rovers out to avenge their first round 8-0 drubbing.

Reserves kick off at 1pm and the Prems at 3pm.

[mainpic]        MAINPIC / A hat-trick for James Tomlinson against his old team click any image to view the full gallery / all images © Dogwhistle Creative[/mainpic]

Eleven from Eleven


The Park Hotel Byron Rams continued their winning run on Saturday, with a comfortable Premier Division win over neighbours, Lennox Head. Not so fortunate were the Rams reserves who, despite completely dominating their opposition, managed to finish on the wrong side of the scoreboard. The Byron Reserves totally outclassed an enthusiastic Lennox side but, despite ample playmaking from Jono Pierce and Benny Ahern, chance after chance went begging and the boys went into the shed with a nil-all scoreline.

The second half saw a fight back from Lennox and they began to gain a fair share of possession Johno Manitta put the Rams in front with just 20 minutes to go and Lennox equalised with a soft goal ten minutes later. The goal spurred on the Sharks reserves and, with only minutes remaining Lennox scored again from a corner to take out the match 2-1. Outstanding work from Nathan Burvill, Benny Ahern and Byron stalwart, Jonathan Pierce.

The Premier Division match saw coach Damon Bell’s boys once again dominant from the outset, shredding the Lennox defence with their fast and slick passing game. Once again, however, many chances went begging. James Tomlinson finally broke the deadlock with a fine individual goal that took the Rams into the break one goal up and in total control of the match.

The rams lifted a notch in the second half and more goals fell. One to Michael Kelly, another fine free kick to Connor Cannon and a fourth to Lachlan Dewar. A fine team performance with Sam McIntyre, Shaun Packham, James Tomlinson and ‘keeper Chris Jones the standouts.

The win strengthens the Rams firm grip on the top of the table, with eleven wins and 49 goals from eleven games and only six goals conceded.

Round 12, next week has the Rams away in Ballina with the Reserves kicking off at 1pm and the Prems at 3pm.

[mainpic]        MAINPIC / Steely-eyed Connor Cannon on the hunt click any image to view the full gallery / all images © Dogwhistle Creative[/mainpic]



The Park Hotel Byron Bay Rams once again displayed their league dominance with a 20 goal spree over Tintenbar on Sunday. The Reserves finally found some satisfaction (and the net), totally overwhelming the hapless Tintenbar second string with five goals in the first half and another six in the second. A hat-trick to George Martin, two goals apiece to Javier Herrais, Tai Flanagan and Tane Meek, and a goal each to John Manitta and Theo Pavil rounded out a stunning 11 - 0 victory.

The drubbing continued in the Premier division match with the Rams pounding the league newbies with similar ease. From literally dozens of chances, the Rams finished 3 goals in the first half and romped home with another 6 in the final session.

Goals to Mattias Toghill, Michael Kelly and James Tomlinson, with hat-tricks to Barry Woods and Connor Cannon took the score to 9-0. With the Rams’ ten man attack in high gear, it could easily have been many more.

Byron remains 6 points and an impressive 23 goals clear of second placed Thistles and, at this point, have to be the championship favourites for 2014.

Round eleven, this Saturday, is another home game for the Rams, with neighbours Lennox Head hoping to be the first this season to upset the Byron juggernaut.

Reserves kick off at 1pm and the Prems at 3pm.

[mainpic]        MAINPIC / A deft flick from James Tomlinson to the boot of Barry Woods saw the midfielder find the net on the volley / click any image to view the full gallery / all images © Dogwhistle Creative[/mainpic]

Rams dominate… again!


The Park Hotel Rams emphasised their dominance of this year’s FFNC Championships with a comfortable win over yet another quality side, Lismore Workers, on Saturday. The reserve grade match was yet another tough and frustrating affair for the Byron Bay squad. Despite having the edge over Workers for much of the match, the Rams finished a goal down after the Lismore ‘keeper stopped a Byron penalty, and the Lismore squad put another penalty into the Byron net.

It was a different story in the Prems, however, with the Rams on the hunt right from the kick-off. A disciplined Workers outfit had no answers to what appeared at times to be a ten-man Byron attack and were left reeling under the relentless pressure. Twenty minutes in, James Tomlinson headed a ball back to the boot of Kazahiro Tsukamoto who buried the first of the Rams first-half goals. Moments later, Tsukamoto served up a pinpoint cross to Connor Cannon who finished with a deft header for number two. Midfielder Barry Woods bagged two more powerful goals to complete the Rams first half spree.

Byron’s overwhelming dominance continued into the second half, but the Rams relaxed a little in the latter stages and allowed Workers to salvage a little dignity with two ’soft’ goals. James Tomlinson sealed the Rams 5-2 win with another slick header.

Midway through the 2014 season, Byron has defeated every team in the competition and holds a handy six point lead over second placed Lismore Thistles. Round 10 sees the Rams travelling to Chickiba Drive in East Ballina on Sunday for their second encounter with with the Premier League newbies, Tintenbar.

Reserves kick off at 12.30 and the Prems at 2.30.

[mainpic]        MAINPIC / Rams’ recruit Theo Richard goes hard against Workers int the Reserve grade clash click any image to view the full gallery / all images © Dogwhistle Creative[/mainpic]

Match of the Season


Billed as the ‘Match of the Season’, Sunday’s clash between top of the table rivals, Byron Bay and Lismore Thistles was no disappointment. The reserve grade teams were fairly evenly matched, with Byron looking the stronger early in the game. A couple of extraordinary defensive lapses from Thistles saw Byron’s lead extend to 3-1 before the Lismore outfit rallied and clawed back two to finish the match at 3-all. Another strong team effort form the Byron Reserves, with outstanding performances from Tai Flanagan, Jono Pierce and Lucas O’Donnell.

The much anticipated Premier division match saw Thistles (down two key players) take to the pitch with a very defensive mindset. The Rams, determined not to let this one get away, went in hard from the opening whistle. A series of lightning-fastattacks from the Rams’ Kazahiro Tsukamoto and Connor Cannon kept Thistles on the back foot and forced some spectacular work from the Lismore ‘keeper.

Byron’s able midfield and back line had the Thistles’ counter attacks under control while the Lismore defence held back a sustained hammering from the Byron forwards.

Sixty minutes in, a soft red card for Sam McIntyre left Byron with a ten man team and a fast and furious battle for the top of the table honours.

Far from wilting, however, the Byron attack became more resolved and relentless, forcing Thistles into an even more defensive mode – repeatedly kicking the ball out of bounds under the mounting pressure.

The deadlock was finally broken when a corner from Conor Cannon was dropped by the Thistles ‘keeper. Byron fullback Nick Baker pounced on the wayward ball to give the Rams a 1-nil lead.

The Byron attack continued right to the whistle, with only great saves from Lismore ‘keeper preventing a bigger margin.

Stand out performances fro the Rams were from the tireless Tsukamoto and Cannon up front, Michael Kelly, Lachie Dewar in the midfield and Nick Baker, the Packham brothers and keeper, Chris Jones. Heading into the second half of the season, the undefeated Byron Bay is now a clear and deserving leader of the Football Far North Coast Premier division and looking like a serious contender for minor and major premiership honours.

[mainpic]        MAINPIC / Byron’s tireless Kazahiro Tsukamoto races defender Max Hospers for the line click any image to view the full gallery / all images © Dogwhistle Creative[/mainpic]

Not So Mellow Yellow


A mixed bag for the Park Hotel Byron Bay Rams on Saturday, with frustration for the Reserves and a fairly cruisey win for the Premier squad over bottom of the ladder Goonellabah Hornets. The Reserves, looking to consolidate their top of the table position and put some daylight between them and a phalanx of eager challengers, had to be content with a single point after a frustrating draw. The Hornets stung first with a clumsy bumbling goal then young Tai Flanagan equalised for Byron but, despite the Rams hammering the Goonellabah defence for the rest of the match, the score remained deadlocked at one apiece.

The Premier Division match was a much more one-sided affair, with the Rams far from stretched in dominating the Goonellabah side. Six minutes in, a cross from James Tomlinson found the head of Connor Cannon who finished cleanly to take the Rams to an early lead. Dogged defending from Goonellabah – particularly Captain Sam Eyers – held off the Byron attack until another header, this time by Sam McIntyre off a corner, took the Rams lead to 2-0. Late in the second half, flanker Dakota Dixon-King threaded a low ball through a goal mouth melee to give Byron their third and final goal of the day. A fourth goal got away when an errant back pass crossed the line before being retrieved by the ‘keeper but, instead of a goal, Byron was awarded a somewhat comical free kick that was positioned variously on the goal-line, 10 metres out and, finally, on the 6m box.

Overall, it was a solid, if not too taxing, team effort with strong performances from Barry Wood, Michael Kelly and Sam McIntyre and yet another high-energy double shift from a resurgent Jono Pierce. The win sees Byron on top of the table with a 10-goal advantage over arch-rival, Lismore Thistles.

Next Sunday sees the Rams at home against Thistles for the match of the season.

Reserves kick off 12.30pm and the Premiers at 2.30pm in a battle that might just determine this year’s premiership.

[mainpic]        MAINPIC / Nuttied! Another High energy double shift from Byron stalwart Jonathan Pierce click any image to view the full gallery / all images © Dogwhistle Creative[/mainpic]

Black and White Over Blue


The Byron Rams V Bangalow Bluedogs football derby is renowned for its heated and often physical clashes. While last Friday night’s round delivered plenty of fireworks, a more disciplined Bangalow side produced a better showing than in their Anzac Cup encounter. The Park Hotel Rams went into both Reserves and Premier matches wary of the extra fight that Banglaow brings to these games – and the potential for an upset.

Despite a determined effort that saw them open the scoring, the Bluedogs reserves were no match for the Byron second string squad. The Rams dominated play and soon took back the lead and went on to a convincing 3-1 win.

The Bluedogs gave the reigning champs a bit more of challenge in the Premier Division match. While the Rams poured on the pressure from the start, the ‘Dogs responded with a series of solid and sustained attacks that kept the the Byron defence busy.

Byron managed to keep the upper hand throughout the scoreless first half, and maintained the punishing pace well into the second. The speed and pressure began to tell on the Bluedogs, with frustration bringing free kicks, and cramps and injuries taking their toll. A well placed free-kick found the head Herick Schuenemann in the box and Byron took the lead. Five minutes later, a scramble for the ball saw frayed tempers flare and Schuenemann was sent for an early shower.

The loss served to steel the Rams resolve and relentelss pressure from the 10 man squad forced some spectacular performances from the Bangalow keeper. A hotly disputed hand ball in the Bangalow box gave Byron’s set piece maestro Connor Cannon another unstoppable penalty.

Not content to simply defend their lead, the 10-man Rams ramped up the attack, with late substitute, Jono Pierce firing up the Byron boys to squeeze the Bangalow defence right down to the whistle.

Another powerful team effort from the Rams, with extra strong performances from Schuenemann, Connor Cannon, Barry Wood, Kazuhiro Tsukamoto, Shaun Packham and – in both Reserves and Prems – a rampant Jonathan Pierce.

The undefeated Rams remain at the top of the table going into round 7. Next week’s match is at Goonellabah against a struggling, bottom of the ladder Hornets.

Reserves kick off at 1pm and the Premier Division at 3pm.

[mainpic]        MAINPIC / Rams Striker James Tomlinson breaks away from the Bluedogs click any image to view the full gallery / all images © Dogwhistle Creative[/mainpic]

Eight IS enough!


Anzac Day’s third consecutive Anzac Cup Finals defeat seems to have had little impact on the composure of Byron’s Park Hotel Rams. If anything, the loss appeared to fire the Byron boys up for Saturday’s clash with Richmond Rovers at the Rec Ground. The reserve grade match saw the Rams dominant but frustrated against a tough Rovers side. Despite moving the ball around freely and making plenty of attacking runs, Byron struggled to find a finish. A goal to George Martin put Byron on the board, but a controversial penalty handed Rovers an equaliser. Another controversial decision in the Rovers box denied the Rams a chance to reciprocate and the final score was deadlocked at one apiece.

The Premier Division looked like being an equally dogged affair, a tough battle from end to end for much of the first half. The in-form Rams piled on the pressure until striker Connor Cannon broke away from the Rovers defence to take on and chip the Keeper for the first half’s only goal.

The second half brought more of the same but, with a second and third goal on the board, the Rams’ confidence grew and Rovers form crumbled. The Byron boys were on-song and owned the park — scoring seemingly at will over a completely demoralised Rovers.

Connor Cannon added another three to his personal account while two goals to James Tomlinson and one apiece to George Martin and Dakota Dixon King took the second half tally to seven.

The unprecedented 8-0 scoreline against one of the league’s top teams signal’s Byron’s intent — and ability — to dominate this season’s competition. Game on!

Round 4 of the FFNC championship sees the Rams travel to the Plateau next Sunday for a Mothers Day clash against determined up-and-comers Alstonville. Reserves kick off at 12.30 and the Prems at 2.30.

Don’t miss a round of this exciting season!

[mainpic]            MAINPIC / Not even Rugby tactics could save Rovers from a crushing defeat. Barry Woods eludes a desperate tackle / click any image to view the full gallery / all images © Dogwhistle Creative[/mainpic]

They're Back!


It was a welcome return to form and to the Byron ‘Rec’ Ground for the Park Hotel Byron Bay Rams when they met Ballina for round three of the 2014 FFNC Premiership on Saturday. In both Prems and Reserves, the Byron Bay boys showed that they are the force to be reckoned with in this years competition. The Reserve Grade squad demonstrated their clear superiority over Ballina and the 3-1 final score was in no way indicative of the run of play. The Rams put in their best showing so far this season and goals to Steve Kirkpatrick and Tai Flanagan could easily have been followed by many more.

The Premier Division match delivered more of the same Rams dominance, but the goals flowed more freely for the top squad. The Rams hit the pitch running and had Ballina on the back foot from the kick off. Smooth, fast and free-flowing football has become the Rams stock-in-trade and Saturday’s game was a very entertaining demonstration.

Opening the scoring for the Rams was Kazuhiro Tsukamoto with a gymnastic turn and strike followed by a clinical penalty from free-kick master, Connor Cannon. A goal from Ballina and another from Byron striker James Tomlinson took them into the break at 3-1.

The second half brought more of the same, with Byron’s attack on the Ballina goal rapid and relentless. More goals from Tsukamoto, Cannon and Michael Kelly took the final score to 7-1 but, again, it could have been much higher, with two goals disallowed and many more very close shaves.

Great games for the tireless Kazuhiro Tsukamoto, the aptly named Connor Cannon, Michael Kelly and Herick (Superman) Schuenemann and inspiring and entertaining performance from the entire squad.

The Rams go into the Easter break sharing the top of the table with Lismore Thistles and Workers.

Next match for the Rams is the Final of the 2014 Tursa Anzac Cup – a re-run of last year’s event — against old foes, Lismore Thistles.

Be at Oakes oval by 7pm Friday, April 26 for a night of first class football.

[mainpic]        MAINPIC / Stalwart Rams defender, James Packham, on the ball click any image to view the full gallery / all images © Dogwhistle Creative[/mainpic]

The Not-So-Beautiful Game


Byron Bay’s Park Hotel Rams headed down the coast to Lennox Head on Friday evening for what was generally expected to be a comfortable win in both grades over their less fancied neighbours. Those expectations did not factor in the passion and determination of the very young Lennox squad not to go down without a fight.

Down seven players from their usual starting line-up – including both keepers – the Rams Reserves and Premiers both started slowly (once again), and neither seemed to find their rhythm throughout their respective matches. Lennox employed a ‘kick and chase’ strategy, with keepers and defenders ‘going long’ at every opportunity and young legs in hot pursuit of every ball. Not the most sophisticated or attractive game-plan but it did succeed in unsettling the Rams and disrupting their usually fast and fluid passing game.

The frustrated Reserves struggled to put together passes and were often half a step behind the fired-up Lennox boys. Despite looking the superior footballers for much of the game, Byron never quite got it together and were lucky to come away with a 1-1 draw. The Rams’ Premier team put in a better showing, but still struggled with Lennox’s long-ball strategy. Striker James Tomlinson opened the scoring with a very tidy finish but the Rams had difficulty gaining any real edge. The Lennox boys showed great spirit and took the fight right up the their more experienced opponents.

An equaliser came in the second half and the pressure was on the Rams to prevent a humiliating upset. On one of many runs at the Lennox goal, Connor Cannon was brought down about 30 metres out with a poorly executed tackle. Heckling from the sideline inspired a superb strike from Cannon in the resulting free kick. As the ball cleared the wall and appeared to be heading over the bar, the Lennox defenders called it ’over’ only to have it dip snuggly under the bar for one very sweet goal. With the score at 2-1, the Rams finally kicked into gear and produced wave after wave of attack on the Lennox goal. Some fine flanking runs and mid-field movements looked promising, but failed to crack the Lennox defence. The hard charging Lennox youngsters also kept Shaun Packham’s defence on its toes. Byron’s stand-in keepers (Rob Kempenich in Reserves and Damian Smith in Prems) put in outstanding performances that did much to preserve the Rams’ dignity. Full credit to Lennox Head, who’s speed, spirit and determination served them well but, with tougher opposition on the horizon, the Byron boys need to find consistent form.

[mainpic]        MAINPIC / A focussed Farren O’Brien on the attack for the Rams Reserves click any image to view the full gallery / all images © Dogwhistle Creative[/mainpic]

Byron women go wild!


Womens Football in Byron Bay is back with a ROAR. As a new squad for 2014, Byron Bay FC’s womens’ Wildcats entered the pre-season Callan McMillan Cup with moderate expectations.

However, after topping their pool in the preliminary rounds, the Wildcats went on to face Casino in the semi finals in what proved to be a tough and bruising encounter. In sweltering Casino heat, the girls came from behind 3 times to come away with a hard-earned victory.

Thirty minutes into the match, the Wildcats suffered a major blow after a poorly timed challenge sent their inspiring 'keeper to the Casino hospital. The set back saw them drop to 3-1 down before a gutsy rally turned the game around. Playing a strong attacking team game, the Wildcats patiently fought back to a 5-3 lead in the second half and held off the Casino counter attacks to finish with a brilliant 5-4 win. The Wildcats now face Mullumbimby in the B-Division final at Lismore’s Oakes Oval, on Thursday, April 24 at 6pm.

In the lead-up to the semi-final, the Byron girls were undefeated with three comprehensive wins, and only one goal conceded. The teams attacking depth saw 8 goal scorers in their in competition tally of 16 goals. The Wildcats’ fast, entertaining football gave them an emphatic 7-0 trouncing of Italo Stars. In their second outing at the Ewingsdale fields, they ground out a 3-0 win over the Nimbin Headers, before trouncing Richmond Rovers 6-1 in the final round.

This committed group includes young women who played junior and youth football for Byron Bay, women returning to the game after a break, players from across the shire, the country and the globe and some who have never before laced on a pair of boots!

The Wildcat ethos is both supportive and encouraging no matter what the level of skill and experience. The girls trained very hard in the pre-season and have built a solid foundation for the upcoming year.

If you are interested in joining this inspiring group and playing Football for the Byron Bay Wildcats, we are still have places in both the 2nd and 4th division teams.

Please contact John on 0407 650 371 or women@byronbayfc.com.au or just drop into a training session at the Rec grounds on Monday or Wednesday evenings at 5:15.

All over red Rovers …


Anzac Cup 2014 Semi – Byron Bay Rams V Rovers The Park Hotel Byron Bay Rams showed their growing strength with a convincing 3-0 win in the 2014 Anzac Cup semifinal at the Ewingsdale on Sunday.

One of the competition’s powerhouse teams, Lismore’s Richmond Rovers were no match for the blossoming Byron squad. The fast-paced match began fairly evenly, with attack and counter attack swinging the action from one end to the other. The Rams back four held fast against the Rovers strikers and Byron quickly gained the upper hand.

A cracking 30m goal from new Byron mid-fielder, Sam McIntyre off the clearance from a corner saw the Rams begin to assert their dominance. Sam Owens finished a handy combination from Tane Meek and Jono Pierce to take the score to 2-0 at half-time.

The second half saw Byron turn up the heat another notch. A superb long-range strike from Michael Kelly sealed the 3-0 Byron victory. With plenty of depth on the bench and strength on the pitch, the Rams hammered the Rovers goal right up the final whistle.

With four competition matches under their belt, the Rams are beginning to perform as a very impressive unit. Byron will be fired up to take home the silverware in a rematch of last year’s Grand Final against Thistles on Anzac day.

The Rams FFNC Premiership campaign kicks off at the Byron Recreation Ground this Saturday against league newcomers, Tintenbar. Reserves kick off at 1pm and the Premier division at 3pm.

[mainpic] MAINPIC / Sam McIntyre open the scoring for the Rams with an unstoppable long-range strike click any image to view the full gallery / all images © Dogwhistle Creative [/mainpic]

Rams into the Semis


Anzac Cup Round 3 Rams -V- Goonellabah The Park Hotel Byron Bay Rams cemented their place in thIs year’s Anzac Cup Semi finals with a decisive 7-1 win over Goonellabah at Ewingsdale on Sunday.

The Rams totally dominated the Hornets and, with a howling tailwind, put way 5 goals before the halftime break.

The wind eased a little for the second half and, despite letting quite a few opportunities go begging, Byron managed to put two more into the net before the final whistle. James Tomlinson once again wreaked havoc among the opposition defence, taking two goals for himself in the process. Connor Cannon repeated his efforts of last week with another two, and a goal apiece for Dakota Dixon-King, Sam McIntyre and Michael Kelly sealed the Hornets fate.

The Byron back four are looking strong and settling in as a very cohesive unit. Outstanding work from Sam McIntyre and James Tomlinson, Herick Schuenemann and Kazuhiro Tsukamoto helped Byron to a very comfortable win.

[mainpic]            MAINPIC / Kazuhiro Tsukamoto gets busy among the Goonellabah defenders click any image to view the full gallery / all images © Dogwhistle Creative [/mainpic]

Too Fast Too Furious

Anzac Cup Round 2: Rams -V- Bangalow Its always a fast, fiery and physical clash when Byron’s Park Hotel Rams meet their Bangalow rivals in a local derby. Sunday’s 2nd round of the 2014 Anzac Cup in Bangalow was no exception.

The Bluedogs seemed particularly fired up for this match and took the fight right up to the Rams from the kick-off.

Bangalow opened the scoring in the second half and, with confidence boosted, kept hammering the Byron defence.

Byron fought back strongly as the new Rams lineup began to find its rhythm and flow. An equaliser from Kazuhiro Tsukamoto took some of the wind out of Bangalow’s sails as Byron piled on the pressure.

Numerous warnings, a couple of yellow cards and, finally, a red were testament to Banglow’s frustration and, as they began to growl at each other, the Bluedogs game began to disintegrate.

The Rams were quick to pounce on the Dogs’ disunity and, despite plenty of missed opportunities, managed another two goals from recruit Connor Cannon and one from another new boy, Dakota Dixon-King.

Byron kept up the heat right to the whistle and the final 4-1 scoreline could have been much worse for the Bluedogs.

After a couple of trials and two competitive rounds, the Rams are beginning to gel as a cohesive unit and look promising for the coming season. Players new and old worked well together with great performances from Shaun Packham, Herick Schuenemann, Tane Meek, George Martin and Connor Cannon.

[mainpic]            click any image to view the full gallery / all images © Dogwhistle Creative [/mainpic]