Sydney University vs Eastwood   
By Bruce’China’ Lin

University 2nd Grade’s final game last Saturday at the historic North Sydney Oval saw the blue and gold emerge victorious. Eighty minutes of attacking rugby saw a 51-14 victory over Eastwood to secure the 2017 Colin Caird Shield.

From the outset University’s forward pack were dominant monopolising field position and possession. Such was the power of the Students pack that only five minutes had elapsed when a five metre scrum splintered Eastwood and back pedalled their pack to be arborists against the Moreton Bay fig tree. University Captain and breakaway Jack McCalman gleefully picked up the ball to score. The try was unconverted but a penalty kept University ahead 8-0 through the half.

A quarter of the game had been played and University looked comfortable. Eastwood appeared slow with continuity constantly breaking down due to unnecessary turnovers. The ball was later spread wide. Inside centre Will McDonnell received it and put the speedy winger colloquially nicknamed ‘Daddzie’ Henry Clunies-Ross flying through a gap more prodigious than Kim Jong-un’s hair part for a converted try.  15-0 was showing on the old style scoreboard but this was only the start of the afternoon’s entertainment.

University were playing with confidence and with the sides natural mobility their mantra was to let the ball do the work. A University lineout had formed just inside the Eastwood half. As the ball was later shunted to the open again McDonnell was the pivotal player. McDonnell applied a deft offload to the right for a rampaging fullback James Kane to burst through to score beneath the posts for his own converted try. Eastwood looked numb and needed to shed their lethargy otherwise a University avalanche was on the cards.

With ten minutes remaining and Eastwood’s body language down a simple regather of a loose Eastwood ball by halfback Daniel Calavassy saw the ball recycled to shadowing blindside breakaway Declan Moore. Like a runaway Bison, Moore motored downfield for the simplest of tries. The opening half ended up 27-0. Forty minutes remained for University to stamp their mark for 2017. University were not about to take high tea and meander for the second half. Coach, Ray Hudd imparted upon his charges to put their foot down on the accelerator.

If this was University’s mission then Eastwood’s  must have been to stop the University bullet train in any way. In doing so they fell foul of the referee. Two Eastwood players were sin binned in quick succession early in the half for deliberate knock downs.

James Kane scored his double fifteen minutes into the half after another Eastwood turnover was pounced upon. Soon after outside centre Harry Potter scored from an easy intercept. Another try was through a regather of a chip kick and soon the scoreline was 46-0.

Eastwood did score their first try late in the half after picking and driving close to the Students line but it was too little too late. University’s final try was reserved for winger Matt Dowsett after McDonnell engineered a line through a gap for Dowsett to stretch over the line to score.

Eastwood’s final try for 2017 came from a regathered kick for a simple try. 51-14 was the final score and University had achieved their mission.

A stirling job had been achieved by the University seconds. The excellent preparation by coaches Ray Hudd and Gary ‘Pele’ Whitaker and support from the unsung heroes, Ross Ryan, Greg Smyth, Thomas Gilmore, Liam Whitaker, Tom Boidin and Murray Hudd undoubtedly made 2nd Grades 2017 campaign a seamless exercise.

Captain Jack McCalman sporting a sharp hair trim from Ramone of Broadway was humble in victory acknowledging Eastwood as worthy opponents. McCalman’s eloquent post match speech when juxtaposed to atrocities heard on mainstream media elevates Jack to newsreader status!     

So there ends 2017.  The future of the Club looks bright with the abundant talent coming through the Colts ranks.

The University Club invites all supporters to return for the season 2018 where you will see the first push over try, a crunching tackle, the drama of the clock winding down and hear Andrew Coorey on the microphone with the familiar line, “At the Birthplace of Australian Rugby.”

Up the Students!