Sydney University’s recent run of victories came to an end last Saturday after Eastwood inflicted a 38-22 defeat of the Students at University Oval.
Saturday’s game coincided with two other significant events. ‘Rounders Day, to recognise a club stalwart the late Stephen Rowntree for his tireless efforts as a volunteer for the club and volunteers in general, and recognition of our junior players. Players from University’s junior feeder clubs were presented to the crowd at halftime and shook hands with the masculine and feminine of the club, Waratah and Wallabies players Paddy Ryan and Bernard Foley, and Rounders daughter Catriona Rowntree.
The big hard running Eastwood players coupled with their scheming nimble five eighth Ayoub caused University much heartache in the first half. The Students were also making unnecessary mistakes which were only capitalised by Eastwood. Four tries and a bonus point were accrued by Eastwood whilst the Students could only manage a solitary penalty goal for a half time score line of 28-3. Once again University’s nemesis had got off to a big start!
As the University players ran back into the dressing rooms you could only speculate how coach Nobby Malone could get his players refocused on rugby matters.
Whatever coach Malone said during the break must have been almost as stirring as Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Gettysburg address as the Students pieced together a mini comeback for the second half.
Once Eastwood winger John Grant was sin binned for killing the ball at a ruck, University saw this as the opportunity to give Eastwood a taste of grief through three quick tries. Amongst the tries was a fine individual effort by number eight Hugo Dessens who ran through the Eastwood defensive line for a 20 metre dash to the tryline.
With 10 minutes left in the match University were still down 31-22 and feverishly throwing the ball about to salvage a victory or some handy bonus points. Both sets of players were running themselves to a standstill and Eastwood finally prevailed when winger Batger scored a late try in the scoreboard corner after some long ball movements downfield.
A loss at home is always disappointing but the young University team showed good fight back against their fierce rival over recent years.