Hornets grind out win
IN a welcome return to form, the Cudgen Hornets delighted their fans with a 38-16 win over Casino at Ned Byrne Field on Saturday night.
After a less-than-impressive performance against Marist Brothers the week before, Cudgen displayed plenty of flair in attack and “mongrel” in defence to hold off the visitors at Kingscliff.
“It was a vastly improved effort by the boys out there,” Hornets coach Con Theodossiou said.
“We showed plenty of enthusiasm and commitment, we had some mongrel in our defence and we worked hard to graft out tries.
“There are still some areas which we need to work on such as our ball control and I thought that our fitness was also a telling factor but we are back heading in the right direction.”
Hornets skipper Steve Kirkham highlighted just how determined Cudgen are to continue their resurgence, arriving at the ground after driving from Mullumbimby just in time to run out with his teammates.
“Kirko had been down at Mullum and got changed in the car and ran straight on the field, grabbing his jersey on the way,” Theodossiou said.
“I was prepared to let him warm up but he wanted to be there from the start ... he took the first hit-up for us. It's that sort of commitment that you want from your captain.”
Fullback Shannon Murphy was a star for the home side, with a hat-trick of tries while centre Dan Forder, hooker Ben Matthews, second-rower Brendan Robinson and Kirkham all had strong games.
It was a great night for Cudgen with the club recording a clean sweep across all three grades with the reserves winning 16-10 and the under 18s getting up in convincing fashion 32-0.
Meanwhile, Murwillumbah were upstaged 36-6 by Byron Bay yesterday.
Mustangs' coach Brad Purtell said his side started well and matched the reigning premiers in the first half but could not go on with the job.
“It was a real arm wrestle for the first 40 minutes with nothing between the two sides,” Purtell said.
“Byron had one try on the board and I think if we had held them to that, our boys would have taken heart but they scored right on half time to go to the break up 12-0.
“They scored a try right from the kick off in the second half and I think that broke us.
“Byron was just too good for us on the day and I think they will be a tough side to beat.”
Murwillumbah was best served by second-rower KJ Wood, prop Shane Kite and lock Dean Corrigan.
In the lower grades, Byron Bay claimed reserve grade honours 38-8 while the under 18s went to Murwillumbah 40-0.
Also yesterday, Northern United continued the Tweed Coast Raiders' woes with a 32-26 defeat.
Confusion surrounded just when the game was to be played after United asked for it to be deferred due to the club having several players in the Northern Thunderbolts representative side.
But after originally seeking to have the game played Tuesday night, United agreed to play it yesterday in Lismore.
The scheduling mix-up did not help the Raiders who suffered their third consecutive loss by four points or less.
In other Northern Rivers games played at the weekend, Lower Clarence handed Evans Heads 60-8 belting, Kyogle upset Mullumbimby 28-26, the Grafton Ghosts won the town derby downing the Rhinos 33-20 and Ballina surprised Marist Brothers 26-6.
Meanwhile, the Northern Thunderbolts' NSW Country Divisional Championships campaign came to a shalt on Saturday when the Bidgee Bulls scored a convincing 42-18 semi-final victory at Wollongong.
In the other semi-final, Illawarra defeated Newcastle 22-12 setting up a Bidgee and Illawarra final in two weeks.