Sydney University



By Bruce ‘China’ Lin

15 June 2024

University’s run of narrow losses continued last Saturday at Eastwood’s T.G.Millner Field, or more like resembling Sir Douglas Mawson’s Antarctic base as the conditions were bitterly cold. University ran out of time to be defeated by Eastwood 20-17.  Both teams scored three tries apiece but in the end a penalty was the decider.

Both sides were testing each other out in the initial stages with nothing much conceded until winger Jack Matthews caused the collective body temperatures to rise with a spectacular diving try in the corner.  But the 5-0 lead was only momentary as a looping Edmed pass along the Eastwood backline saw them score.

Shortly after Eastwood exploited a gap in the University defensive line to lead by 10-5. But the oscillating scoreline continued. A penalty was awarded to University ten metres out directly in front of the Eastwood goal posts. Breakaway Sam Allsopp sensing Eastwood were in sleep therapy mode executed a quick tap. If you blinked you would have missed Allsopp running through the heart of the defensive line to score University were on par now at 10-10. But Edmed kicked a penalty which would be rued by the Students later.

Down 13-10 University was not going to rest and pressed Eastwood. Again winger Jack Matthews caused the small but vocal supporters to erupt in ebullient *  behaviour. Matthews anticipated the trajectory of the ball along the Eastwood backline. At a precise moment befitting a NASA engineer, Matthews injected himself into the Eastwood line to intercept the ball for a run away try causing the scoreboard to reflect a University lead of 17-13 before halftime.

The feeling of hypothermia was compounded by the canteen exhausting supplies of hot food and a fine layer of mud encasing the ground.

University failed to increase their scoreline during the second half. Both sides gave little away until a moment of ad lib rugby took place. Eastwood somehow secured a loose ball inside the University half. They then proceeded to keep the ball alive with ad hoc pacific islander style of play. The University defence failed to curb this rush  and conceded a converted try.20-17 was the scoreline announced by the ground announcer whose distinctive fireside chat accent is up there with rugby’s Gordon Bray. But with twenty minutes left there was still time to salvage the game. University had opportunities with attacking lineouts and five metre scrums but luck was not on their side and the game ended at 20-17.

A disappointing finale to a game where both sides gave it everything.

Next week University are back at home against another unpredictable team the Western Sydney Two Blues.

*Ebullient- overflowing with fervor, excitement.