It was baptism of fire for Tintenbar/East Ballina when they took on reigning FFNC Champions, Byron Bay Rams in their first ever Premier Division match on Saturday, March 29. What the ‘Bar’ boys lacked in experience, fitness and finesse, they (almost) made up for in passion and enthusiasm.
The Park Hotel Rams dominated both Reserves and Prems matches, but the gutsy Tintenbar teams and the stifling 30+ heat made sure it was no walk in the park.
The reserves match also saw the Premier squad debut of two up-and-coming Byron youth players.
John Manitta made an impression in reserves and a seat on the a bench and a late run in the Prems game, while 18 year old Tai Flanagan celebrated his arrival in reserves with a debut hat-trick!
Lachie Dewar opened the scoring with a controversial goal from a direct corner when the keeper fell into the goal after going high to take the ball. A goal from veteran strike Steve Kirkpatrick made it 2-up and Tai’s treble took the final score to 5-0.
A similar story unfolded in the Premier Division match, with the Rams once again taking their time getting goals on the board. An early Tintenbar goal gave heart to the outgunned newcomers, but also stirred the Byron boys into action. Despite courageous performances from Tintenbar, Byron’s superior skills and fitness began to tell and the goals began to flow.
James Tomlinson battled through the busy Tintenbar defence to take two goals, Connor Cannon took another two - including a cracking free kick that beat the wall and the keeper and almost the net! The amazing fitness and work rate of Herick Schuenemann was rewarded with a goal and a scorching drive from Dakota Dixon rounded out the final tally at 6-1.
The League newcomers were no match for the Rams’ fluid style, vision, passing, possession and endurance. Two more convincing wins for the Byron Boys. This Friday, the Rams travel to Lennox Head for a night match. Reserves kick off at 6pm and the Prems at 8pm.
[mainpic] MAINPIC / James Packham battles a young charger from Tintenbar click any image to view the full gallery / all images © Dogwhistle Creative [/mainpic]