Raiders come oh so close to semis

IT was a game which summed up the Tweed Coast Raiders season -“oh so close”.

Yesterday at Les Burger Field, Bogangar, the Raiders went down to the Grafton Ghosts in a spirited match 22-16 and bringing to an end their 2009 Northern Rivers Regional Rugby League campaign.

Again, as has been so often the case this year, a couple of simple errors lead to the Ghosts scoring quick tries and forcing the Raiders to play catch-up.

Captain coach Nathan Jordan was extremely proud of the way his players finished the match but was left to ponder the “what ifs” of yet another match, which the Raiders lost by six points or less.

“You look at this game and see a couple of mistakes which lead to the Ghosts scoring,” Jordan said.

“You see us kick goals from the sideline and yet miss conversions from directly in front - it's the nature of what has happened to us this year.”

The game was a genuine arm wrestle with the Raiders opening the scoring after 33 minutes of the first half has elapsed.

Centre Steve Carsons, one of the Tweed Coast's best, crossed out wide and then converted his own try to give the home side a 6-0 lead.

However only four minutes had passed before Grafton levelled through fullback Khan Williams with centre Aaron Taylor, who proved the difference between the two sides converting to see both sides go to the break locked at 6-all.

An intercept early in the second half by Taylor, who ran 80 metres to score and convert followed by a try to Ghosts winger Carson Gallaway, also converted by Taylor and a penalty saw the visitors out to 20-6.

However that sparked a fight back from the Raiders with a second try to Carson, converted by Dane Herron and a neat try to Jordan but not converted and the score was 20-16.

Another penalty to Taylor saw the final score 22-16.

“I'm really proud of how the boys fought back and really took it to the Ghosts and I suppose we can say we are the best placed Tweed team but it's disappointing not to be in the finals for the first time in a few years,” Jordan said.

In the lower grades, the Raiders won reserve grade 36-18 and the under-18s, 44-6.

At Ned Byrne Field, Kingscliff, the Cudgen Hornets put a major scare through the Mullumbimby Giants camp, going down in a thriller 20-18.

In the lower grades, Mullum won reserve grade 40-14 and also won the under 18s, 38-6.

On Saturday night Evans Head denied Murwillumbah a final victory to win on the bell in a very close even match 10-8.

In lower grades, Evans Head won both the reserves 42-10 and the under 18s, 16-6.

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