Chinese superstitions of good luck on the 8th day of the 8th month unfortunately did not befall Sydney University last Saturday at Manly Oval. Again it was a day of two halves as the Marlins in a twelve minute period effectively extinguished the grand final hopes of University with a 42-22 victory.

The first half saw the Students run the ball at every opportunity. The young backline led by Tom Carter were making territory over the advantage line. In one scenario University attacked inside the Manly half and Carter pushed inside the Manly 22 metre area. The ball was shifted quickly to the left and Angus Roberts gave a delicate no look off load to Captain David Hickey who ran through to score under the posts for a 7-0 lead.

University were not there to enjoy the late winter sun and recommenced to attack within Manly’s territory. University were able to form a lineout five metres out.

The subsequent throw somehow missed all designated jumpers and trickled towards the back of the lineout. But with those bushcraft skills developed in his formative years around Coonabarabran, David Hickey pounced on the ball and darted towards the goalposts for his second try. The conversion adjusted the score to 14-0. University had started strongly but Manly soon countered with a stroke of luck.

A turnover saw the ball diagonally kicked to the western flank. The ball unexpectedly bounced high and was regathered midair. Manly second rower Sigg scored in the hill corner before the throng of Manly pseudo intelligentsia perched on the hill. A 14-5 scoreline quickly changed to 14-8 with a penalty.

Manly had shaken off their cob webs and were stringing together phases of play. An attacking lineout saw them score another try but a series of penalties to both teams saw the scoreline oscillate before the half time bell. Scoreline was 18-17 to Manly and the big crowd was eagerly waiting for the second half to see who were going to be first to reach next weeks grand final.

The commencement of the second half started as the amuse- bouche for a degustation offering. The kickoff was received by the slippery University winger Matt Narracott. Naracott with incredible foot speed zig zagged down field to score a try in the score board corner.

However the early setback had the effect of inspiring the Manly team. A bewildering 12 minutes saw 4 tries scored which effectively flattened University. No matter how hard University attempted to gain field position, a turnover, or penalty would stop any momentum.

A disappointing end to the season without doubt. But the brave heart reserve grade showed their spirit by downing favourites Manly for a berth at Concord Oval next week. With all three colts recording great wins on Sunday, there is still enough passion to come from the blue and gold hoops fraternity for the big show next week.