24 June 2023
By Bruce ‘China’ Lin
On a sunshine bathed winter Sydney morning, Coogee Oval the setting of many battles between the University and Randwick clubs, saw once again an epic game between two famous clubs. On this occasion Randwick and their ad lib play saw them victorious with a 44-33 victory and hold aloft the Poidevin-Farr Jones Cup.
University came bolting out the gates with the Henry Show during the first ten minutes . A Luke Ratcliff charge down regathered and scored by the gladiator of Shute Shield rugby outside centre Henry Clunies-Ross. A few minutes later an intercept by halfback Henry Robertson saw them up 14-0. But the blood lines of Randwick are to attack at every opportunity. Soon the Randwick response was a quick up and under regather and a dart down the beachside blind side saw them trailing 14-12.
University then acquired some field position inside the Randwick quarter. A phase of heavy rucking saw University edge their way into the five metre zone. Then the ball was spread wide allowing fullback George Poolman to chime into the backline to score.
But again Randwick like a dog off a leash continued to pester the Students. Failing to tackle their fullback allowed him to chip and regather down the grandstand touchline. Regathering he outsprinted the University defence to score in the Brook street northern corner.
According to the Oxford dictionary momentum is defined as force that is gained by movement. This sums up the remainder of the first half as Randwick scored two converted tries one just before half time to knock the air from Univesity’s lungs. Halftime saw a scoreline of 31-19 favouring a dangerous Randwick.
The second half with University running towards the north saw them gradually assume field position. A barrage of picks and drives inside the five metre zone saw the ball spread wide resulting in a double to Clunies-Ross. A Randwick penalty for some breathing space saw them ahead 34-26.
Good luck is bestowed on those who are polite and eat their Brussel sprouts which is the case of the blue and gold fifteen. A five metre lineout saw them score a converted try to only trail 34-33. But all the good work fizzled soon after when Randwick regathered a kick and attacked down the beachside touchline. Backing each other up and refusing to allow the ball to go dead they soon had an overlap which saw their Captain Houston score. 41-33 was now the score and things just got harder for University after Randwick potted a penalty to extend their lead to 44-33.
Playing catchup at Coogee Oval before a myrtle green eyed crowd is a tough task. University could not peg the scoreline back. This week there was no * stentorian response from the University dressing rooms afterwards as some mistakes proved costly. 44-33 was the final scoreline. University were bruised especially Captain Jack McCalman resembling Egyptian mumy Amenemhat – son of Thutmose IV with swathes of bandages across his face.
Another tough assignment is next week against Northern Suburbs at North Sydney Oval.
*Stentorian – extremely loud voice