There were tries aplenty last Saturday at Concord Oval as Sydney University defeated the West Harbour Pirates 39-30 to take home the White Ribbon Cup in a super Saturday clash.
The SUFC boys with the White Ribbon Cup for another year
On one of those days where your mother has a dilemma whether to hang out the washing or not on the Hills hoist, University's six tries were built from a solid scrum and enterprise by the fleet footed backline.
The swashbuckling Pirates were the first to score with a spectacular runaway try from their deceptive winger Nash Kamhara. Stung by the early try, University replied swiftly. The Students winger James Dargaville made a slashing run down the right wing and was supported by half back Jake Gordon who took the final inside pass to dart over in the northern corner. The unconverted try gave Wests a slender 7-5 lead.
Wests' big forward pack was responsible for the Pirates extending their lead. Following a five metre scrum from the University tryline, Wests applied a series of picks and drives. A short ball for a hard running forward split the University defence and a converted try saw Wests ahead 17-5.
University ignored the driving rain and continued orchestrating another attacking raid. Managing to secure the ball inside the West Harbour 22 metre area, University decided to spread the ball to the right wing. Dargaville again was unstoppable down the blindside and received the ball before tip toeing over in the corner.
The remainder of the first half saw a see sawing scoreline as some spectacular tries were scored by both teams. Sydney rugby's journeyman, Wests five eighth Dave Harvey, now treasuring a Pirates jersey to frame alongside numerous others for his man cave, gave his team a narrow lead of 27-26 from penalties at halftime.
A halftime fire side chat with the retired University captain Tim Davidson giving his thoughts on the game was the catalyst for University to draw first points early in the second half. Another judicious use of the blindside saw quick passing shift the ball to Dargaville who scored his second try. This was the big wingers last try before retiring due to a hamstring strain. A series of further penalties kicked by Harvey and replacement University winger Jon Vaux, saw University just ahead of Wests at 34-30 during the latter second half.
The Pirates did not capitulate and walk the gangplank. Everything was thrown at the Students and coupled with the judicious kicking of Harvey could have altered affairs in an instant.
University's last try was something not extracted from the ARU coaching manual. Jake Gordon (pictured above) grubbered a ball inside his half for field position. A defending Wests winger was snookered alongside the western touchline with not a support in position. University's Jon Vaux tackled the receiver and in desperation the Wests player passed over his shoulder oblivious to who was behind him. Gordon loomed on the inside and timed his interception perfectly to run away and score. Gordon's try was unconverted and the final score in an entertaining game was 39-30 to the Students.
This final win for the day in First Grade resulted in wins across all grades for University.
Next week University hosts its first home game of the season against traditional rivals the big Manly Marlins.