The end of the abridged regular 2020 season arrived at Lidcombe Oval last Saturday. Replacing the fire and brimstone blood and guts encounters of yesteryear at this old ground, University defeated the Western Sydney Two Blues by 72-24.
But it was not all one way traffic as the scores suggest as the Two Blues stood up to University from the start. After six minutes a concerted attacking phase inside the University quarter saw a speedy outside back race through to dive over in the corner. After this wake up call University started to focus and build continuity to set in motion their first points.
University were bustling the Two Blues and a loose pass was pounced on by that whippet winger Matthew Hood. Hood raced downfield and then unselfishly passed back inside to a worthy recipient breakaway Jack McCalman who touched down. A good opening try from the clubs newest centurion.
It was Hood’s day as his speed on the grassy surface was fully exploited the whole game. Through all the back line hands the ball was swept up field . When Hood took possession after good lead up by fullback Tim Clements there was the Auburn Costco behind him as he tore up the western touchline to score in the corner. 12-5 was the score but the hosts from the wild west had other ideas.
Some loose tackling near the Students try line received the due penalty when a fired up Two Blues pack smashed their way over for a converted try. Scores were now even 12-12 but University wanted to go into the half time break with the ascendancy with a hookers try by Declan Moore for a 19-12 lead at the break.
It was a hot day and University were in the lead. But if your name was Lhamo Thondup better known as the 14th Dalai Lama you could sense the Students had not reached anywhere near their full potential.
University must have had that innate borborgym* built up and started the second half with impact scoring an early five metre try by number eight and Captain Rohan O’Regan. This was the catalyst for an avalanche of tries to arrive from University. There were tries from short balls off rucks, sweeping backline plays as well as ad lib broken fields forays. Like his cousin Little Red Riding Hood Matthew Hood showed that his innocent boyish looks belies an inner opportunistic streak. Hood kicked a loose ball back infield which would warrant a call up for the Socceroos. An ensuing centre kick and regather saw the zippy winger score an excellent try.
University had cruised to 72-17 and then a period of not concentrating set in for the final minutes. Two Blues scored two tries right to the final bell ending the game at 72-24.
This was probably the last Two Blues game at Lidcombe Oval. In 2021 their new first class facilities at Granville Park will be showcased in the Shute Shield. Congratulations Two Blues and looking forward to playing at the new Death Valley.
A good win by University but more is required next Saturday as it is semi final time. At Warringah Rugby Park #Rat Park we lock horns with Northern Suburbs.
*Borborgym rumbling in the belly.