four byron lads chosen in soccer squads

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Sam Shepherd and Griffin Bambach

[singlepic id=786 w=160 float=left] [singlepic id=285]Four Byron Shire lads have made it into the Northern NSW Football Under-13 Country Boys Train On squad.

Griffin Bambach, of Suffolk Park, Hari Scott, of Mullumbimby, Sam Shepherd of Coorabell and Jack Watson of Bangalow are part of the squad, whose head coach is Gavin Whitney.

Several boys from just outside the shire were chosen for the Under-14 squad.

Last year marked the first time Northern NSW Football entered two Boys sides (Country and Metropolitan) in the Under-13 and Under-14 age groups.

The Under-14 Country side headed by Vic Stokes finished the Championships in 1st place in Group B.

Click the newspaper clipping to read the whole article.

One point at a time…

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Indefatigable Jordy and Kazahiro

[singlepic id=285 float=right]Saturday August 6th, the Byron Bay Rams travelled to Lismore to take on arch rivals, Lismore Thistles. With their season hanging on a knife edge after last week’s home loss to Goonellabah, the Rams have no chance of the Minor Premiership and no guarantee of a finals spot if the recent lack of form continues.

Starting line-up against Thistles was Layton Barton in goals, Mav White, Sam Robson, Ian Lennie, Nolan Pierce, Aaron Richter-Steers, Corey Montgomery, Bruce Morhaus, Tommy Ruhl, Kazahiro Tsukamoto and Jordy Campbell, with Tom Baker, Tim Knight, Jonno Pierce, Toby Barton and Shannan Maciejewski on the bench.

After two bruising encounters with Thistles already this season, a hard and physical game was expected. At Thursday’s training, a full and frank assessment of the season so far left the Rams players in no doubt as to what was required of them. Byron started well with Tsukamoto and Campbell on the move and, with mid-field players arriving at pace in support, some serious questions were being asked of Thistles’ stretched back four.

It was ‘nip and tuck’ for the first half hour with the Rams just ahead in chances and possession.

Sloppy defending and a bit of hesitation allowed Thistles to hit the bar. Thankfully, the ref missed a little over zealous defending from the Rams.

A great flowing play saw Byron, with Tsukamoto and Campbell heavily involved, unleash a rampant Tom Ruhl into the Thistles box to slot home coolly from 12 metres out. It was a well deserved goal and the Rams lead held for the remainder of the half with Campbell, Ruhl and Tsukamoto forcing good saves from the Thistles keeper.

Lismore equalised in the 55th minute as Sullivan drove home the second ball after a free kick. (The referee was apparently the only one at the ground who had missed an earlier, rather blatant, Thistles hand ball). The Rams’ mental toughness wavered after this but, with old timers Morhaus, Lennie, and Richter-Steers leading by example, the game took on a more physical edge. Byron took the game to the Thistles and, playing well, created more chances. Maciejewski replaced a tiring but inspirational Tommy Ruhl, and despite missed chances from both him and Campbell, the Rams rose to the football and the physical challenges.

It was a bruising encounter that saw five yellow cards for the and three Thistles players leave the field injured. Despite a mouth wound (and his previous record against Byron) the older of the Parrish brothers managed to stay on the field for the whole game.

Tim Knight and Jonno Pierce joined the fray as Byron chased a result that would get the finals push back on track.

Despite the frustration of yet another draw, it was a good, solid game for the Rams, with lots of spirit shown in a full-blooded encounter. Ian Lennie, Bruce Morhaus, Sam Robson, Aaron Richter-Steers and young Maverick White were in good form, Layton was solid in goals, Tsukamoto and Campbell worked hard all day Byron really should have come away with three points - again.

Sam “Kobe” Robson was Man of the Match, just pipping Aaron Richter-Steers.

Reserves continued their unimpressive run with a 3-2 defeat, goals for Toby Barton and Tom Baker, to all but end their finals hopes. Individual errors again proved costly.

A fine game on Friday night saw the Women’s Premiers go down 2-0 to Champions Alstonville.

Byron’s ‘soar-away 6ths’ look like taking the championship after beating South Lismores 2-1. A win over bottom of the table Workers next week will clinch the title .

Byron 4ths drew 0-0 at Mullumbimby in a good showing, while the 3rds put up a great effort to go down 1-0, at Mullum. The 1sts stopped their recent run of defeats with a fine 1-0 win at Ballina.

John Sowter [nggallery id=24]

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

Doing it tough - another one-pointer for the Rams

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Sam Owens and Kazahiro Tsukamoto

[singlepic id=285 float=right]A beautiful day at Saunders Oval, Ballina saw the Rams take on a Ballina side that is anchored firmly to the foot of the table and struggling to avoid relegation.

The Byron squad welcomed back Sam Owens to the mid-field following his recent holiday and Kazahiro Tsukamoto to the forward line after his wedding in Japan.

Aaron Richter-Steers was unavailable and with Ian Lennie and Tom Ruhl still nursing injuries, the Rams starting line-up was Layton Barton in goal, Toby Barton, Sam Robson, Nolan Pierce, Tom Baker, Shannan Maciejewski, Corey Montgomery, Sam Owens, Jonno Pierce, Kazahiro Tsukamoto and Jordy Campbell.

On the bench were Mav White, Jack White, Tane Meek, Farren Lathen-O’Brien and Herick Scheunemann.

Wary of complacency after the 6-2 and 8-1 mauling of Ballina in two previous meetings this season, the Rams started in bright fashion with some good passing and movement down both flanks. Disaster struck in the third minute as a speculative 30m drive from a Ballina mid-fielder seemed to wrong foot Layton and found the net despite Layton getting a hand to it.

Byron have come from behind before, however, and the Rams soon took a firm grip on the game. It seemed only a matter of time before the inevitable equliser. The back four, with debutante Tom Baker, were solid and Ballina posed little threat. Campbell and Tsukamoto were busy up front, ably supported by Pierce, Owens, Maciejewski and Montgomery.

Layton Barton

Three good chances were missed before the Rams were awarded a penalty kick for a hand-ball from a Ballina defender. A fairly weak strike from Campbell was stopped by the Ballina keeper and the score remained 1-0. More good chances were missed by Campbell, Kazahiro, Owens and Jonno Pierce, leaving Byron one goal down at the break.

The Rams’ build-up play was excellent, with chances created almost every time the play moved forward. Once again, more of the same – but with better finishing – was the call for the second half. Mav White replaced Corey Montgomery at half time. In the first minute of the second half Tsukamoto missed a good ball from Campbell from five metres out, hitting a Ballina defender when it did seem easier to score.

Moments later Jonno Pierce crashed a shot over the bar from the edge of the box, Sam Owens completely missed a volley as a cross came in from the left and Campbell missed another two. Another chance fell to Campbell when he opted to let the ball run across him – he narrowed his angle hit it straight at the keeper.

The lost chances were enormously frustrating for players and supporters as wave after wave of Rams attack came to nothing thanks to exceptionally poor finishing.

The equaliser finally came when Sam Robson headed home a great Campbell free kick. This should have settled the nerves and served as the catalyst for the Rams to go on and win the game – a game they had absolutely dominated against a very poor Ballina side.

More (yes there’s more!) chances fell to Campbell, Kazahiro, Owens (who blazed over from 10 metres), Pierce (who can, apparently, blaze over from any distance and angle), Mav White and Scheunemann who had replaced a tiring Owens.

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Toby Barton

Ballina managed another attack against the play and Layton made a superb save to salvage two points and a lot of face. Byron has been plagued for much of the season with great build up play followed by very poor finishing. Unfortunately, there are no points for aesthetics or artistic interpretation in this competition and, with an increasingly tight top five, squandering these two points may prove very costly in the weeks remaining.

Man of the match was Shannan Maciejewski.

The Byron reserves continued their belated and still unlikely tilt at a semis spot with a solid 2-1 win, Jack White equalising an early goal and Bruce Morhaus returning from injury to drill home a spectacular winner. Lachlan Baynes was in good form in goals and contributions from Scheunemann, Gray and Lathen-O’Brien saw the reserves hang on for a win.

Next Saturday, The Rams host Goonellabah at the Byron Rec grounds for a 3.00p.m. kick off.

It’s a top 4 clash that both sides need to win to have any hope of catching Rovers in the race to the title.

John Sowter