There were a number of milestones last Saturday at Concord Oval. It was the last game before it is redeveloped, University defeated the Pirates 51-6 at the end of the regular season. The records will also reflect SUFC’s 16th consecutive Club Championship. Finally in circumstances likened to a Steven Bradbury the Students ended up Minor Premiers!
The first quarter of the game was a tight affair with no scores by either side. The solid defence of University quelled any incursions by the Pirates. Prominent in the heavy defensive department were the saturnine pillars - second rower Lachie Swinton and his partner breakaway the Lord of Camperdown Nick Champion de Crespigny who was playing his 50th 1st Grade game.
Halfway through the half University raised the first scores with a five metre rolling maul scored by that busy little beaver hooker Tom Horton. Once the cobwebs were dusted off University commenced to apply more freedom to their play. Halfback Nick Phipps decided a cheeky dart from the back of a scrum was required to score under the posts. The score line was 10-0 and soon after Swanepoel the Pirates five eighth kicked a penalty for a 10-3 score line. University were gradually assuming the ascendancy with a dominant set piece denying West Harbour of any possession.
In a period of broken field play University could still match it with the best. A Pirates clearing kick was received by fullback Tim Clements. Clements decided not to zig or zag but run straight eventually splitting the defence and linking up with inside centre Will McDonnell. Young Willo offloaded an overhead lob to the trailing Phipps who scored his double. A further penalty to West Harbour rounded off the halftime score to 17-6. University were running with the wind in the second half and forty minutes remained in the 2019 regular season.
Although Concord will soon be levelled the sounds of the lower grade chorus perched high in the stands will forever be etched in rugby folklore. In 2020 the residents surrounding Drummoyne Oval will hear their dulcet tones echoing along Canada Bay singing John Denver hits and when a scrum is packed Push it...push it good….
University did not go to sleep after the break and it only took four minutes before a five metre rolling maul resulted in try number four and Tom Horton’s double.
22-6 was now the score and University had enough of a buffer to start swinging the ball. Captain and centre Guy Porter heeded this call when he busted the defence. Porter was ankle tapped and ready to fall on the ground popped the ball up for breakaway Josh Kemeny. Kemeny sprinted away to score under the posts and increase the gap to 29-6.
With a view to preserving troops before the semi finals the University bench was rotated. Soon further tries were scored by replacement hooker and halfback Declan Moore - twice and Jake Gordon respectively. With just over ninety seconds left Declan Moore scored his hat trick to round off the day.
With the sound of the siren University had achieved the following. Retention of the White Ribbon Cup, the Minor Premiership and the Club championship. Not a bad effort and enough to have a Horlicks before bed to celebrate!
A home semi final against Manly beckons next Saturday. Head coach Robert Taylor will no doubt tweak the team to another level but maintain a winning formula. “Good defence today and no tries against us. Defence is what wins championships. We have never been number one all season. How’s that now”, said the happy coach.