The sun was shining but the temperature dipped to single figures as an antarctic surge enveloped the Sydney metropolitan area last Saturday.
At the T.G. Millner Field, University defeated traditional nemesis Eastwood 36-26 in a solid hit out before next week’s bye.
Eastwood with the swirling wind behind them were first off the mark with a try engineered through suspected fraudulent circumstances. The ball was taken along the backline and then the direction was changed. Whilst this was being executed the Eastwood attackers exploited a teammate in front as a shield. University players stopped in their tracks as if they had viewed for the first time Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining stopping anticipating that play would be pulled up for a shepherd. But play was allowed to continue and Eastwood drove through to score a somewhat dubious seven point try.
But Eastwood’s lead was short lived as University commenced to press Eastwood at the old scoreboard end. A phase of solid rucking and recycling allowed the Students to be within five metres of the Eastwood try line. The ball was being rucked with venom and the Eastwood forwards were being splintered. A loose ruck was the cue for University halfback Banjo Travers to dart open through a gap bigger than Clive Palmer’s girth to score a try near the posts. James Kane converted the try and scores were now even .
The next segment was all University as the attack commenced to give the ball some width. University were really throwing the ball into the attack. Five eighth Connor O’Shea was distributing in all directions until fullback Tim Clements chimed into the backline. Clements with his uncanny knack of dodging tackles developed all those years back avoiding his mother Belinda force feeding him pureed broccoli and preserved lemons to touch down with a great try.
A Kane penalty and an Eastwood try in the corner changed score lines to University leading 15-12. But young man Tim Clements came to Marsfield with another try showcasing his silken running lines. Score line had now extended to 22-12 in favour of the visiting Students at halftime.
A phase of scrappy rugby later had open side breakaway Jack McCalman sin binned for a ruck breach and the Students were about to do it tough before halftime. Eastwood exploited this advantage and scored a seven pointer on the stroke of halftime.
There was no respite from the icy winds. However the next forty minutes the Students did have a wind advantage. But it was Eastwood again that recorded first points when their five eighth Edmed pierced through a gap for a converted try. Eastwood were up 26-22. Both teams lost a man each shortly after a session of jousting lead by the flanker from King Arthur’s Camelot Nick Champion de Crespigny and an Eastwood forward.
But when University finally reached parity again a rise in intensity took place. University commenced to grind Eastwood mercilessly with ferocious rucking. The energy sapping picking and driving allowed University to breach a gap down the blind for centre Henry Clunies-Ross to score. Conversion saw University lead 29-26 and you could sense University were dominating a tiring Eastwood side.
This came the fore when a massive rolling maul of some twenty metres was executed by University inside the Eastwood quarter. The deliberate collapsing of the maul gave University a five metre lineout . The dominant pack shunted over for hooker Pat O’Doherty to score increasing the lead to 36-26.
University continued to dominate bustling Eastwood and dismantling their scrum. Eastwood could not catch up and the match ended with no change in score line. A welcome vicory before going into a break.