Saunders Oval Ballina hosted a football spectacular worthy of the build-up hype surrounding this year’s world cup with the highly anticipated local derby between the Ballina Seahorses and the Tintenbar/East Ballina football club. This year is Tintenbar’s first year at premier level status in the FFNC competition and the latent rivalry between the two local clubs proved to be a major incentive to draw supporters from both clubs. The punters arrived in droves populating the famous Saunders balcony with almost record numbers. The game was an entertaining and fast paced affair with the Seahorses prevailing with a hard fought 3 nil victory. The excitement was palpable and it possibly contributed to a clean sweep for all of the senior men’s teams last Saturday (with reserves, fourths and fifths also winning)– a rare feat indeed.
Fittingly, Matt Jeffery (with experience playing for both sides) opened the account in the first ten minutes thanks to a deftly placed through ball from the Seahorses flamboyant flanker Nick Key.
The goal drove the Seahorses supporters into a frenzy prompting them to remove the cobwebs as they were given a history lesson from Jason ‘the Warbler’ Green and Reece ‘the Choirmaster’ Ryan who struck up some of the Seahorses top tunes from bygone eras. This lifted the intensity and the Seahorses responded with a second goal at the end stage of the first half with Doug Bocking cracking a nice volley from a Dave Bowder cross.
Tintenbar lifted in the second half and they had several near chances of narrowing the gap; however the Seahorses sealed the result with a spectacular left foot goal from Liam Seymour. The result has boosted Ballina’s chances of sneaking into top five contention; however Tintenbar will have to regroup to ensure they draw away from the bottom of the table – they have the potential to upset some of the opponents in this year’s comp and Ballina football will benefit if Tintenbar avoid relegation.
The Seahorses face Workers in an important clash next Tuesday at home 6pm and 8pm kick off – the Seahorses need to collect some consistency and string together some successive results. Their recent performances have improved largely due to a greater self-belief and stronger resolve on the park.