University’s recent run of bad luck ended last Saturday at Camperdown. Played in balmy conditions which would give all at the ground an early dose of vitamin D, a 34-15 victory over Northern Suburbs is embraced any day. But this one had added significance with one game to play.
From the outset University were dominant stifling any attempt by Norths to gain decent field position. When University secured possession and commenced to drive inside their quarter the Shoremen commenced to back pedal. Those weekly drills of picking and driving came to fruition as wave after wave of Students punched through towards the goal line. A lineout was set and the surge of the University pack was applied. Ultimately loosehead prop Tom Robertson reached through a splintering ruck to post first points with a converted try.
The University scrum was dominant shunting the North’s pack freely however the lineout was not in synch which could have allowed University to post more points. Instead the crowd was left discombobulated scratching their heads as to what could have been achieved. Norths failed to register any points in a dour first half.
North’s had only lost one game during the regular season. However the momentum today was with the Students. With the aid of a breeze wafting from across Parramatta Road, University had no excuse to not raise the games tempo significantly.
A penalty duel ensued whereby five eighth Stu Dunbar increased the margin to 10-0. North’s replied with a penalty by their five eighth Angus Sinclair. Dunbar taking any points on offer then kicked another. 13-3 was showing and then University’s well-oiled machine commenced to roll. A rolling maul was surging towards the North’s line. A penalty gave University the option to test their attacking scrum. End result saw an almighty shunt towards the old morgue across the road causing the North’s scrum to buckle. A penalty try was awarded and University were now ahead 20-3.
University now had that valuable breathing space. Norths were committed to play catch up rugby which is always fraught with danger. An overhead looping pass along the Norths backline was anticipated by University winger Matthew Hood. Like his namesake Robin, Hood stole from Norths with an interception to give to his team by racing downfield for a converted try. A handy buffer of 27-3 was now established.
But never under estimate a wounded Shoremen when a half break down the northern touchline saw them record a converted try. But University’s set piece dominance continued when another dominant scrum was awarded a penalty try plus a handy bonus point. The match ended with Norths second try with a final score line of 34-15.
This was not one of University’s most exciting victories. But it probably secured a finals berth and gave the team some much needed boost in belief following a few weeks of setbacks.
Next week University finish off the regular season against the Western Sydney Two Blues at Lidcombe Oval.