Sydney University



By Bruce ‘China’ Lin

27 April 2024

So near yet so far that timeless cliché was all so true last Saturday at Chatswood Oval. With over fifty players across the club unavailable, University fought back to lead ninety seconds from the end only to succumb to a desperate Gordon try. The heavyweight Gordon team defeated the Students 31-27.

University commenced play with swift ball movement inside the Gordon quarter. The Students persistence paid off which saw the ball passed by the Shute Shields national living treasure outside centre Henry Clunies-Ross throw a looping ball to his winger Josh Calvert for him to score in the corner. 5-0 was University’s early lead which did not last long. Gordon were pressing a short time later a hit and spin inside the University five metre zone saw the tartan’s score a converted try.

Another Gordon try through brutal picks and drives had their supporters in raptures showing their love towards agastopia * with the big forwards flexing their biceps and quadriceps.

University hit back with a five metre rolling maul to trail 12-10. But another hammering of the University line saw another increase in the scoreline to 19-10 at halftime.

The start of the second half could not have started more perfectly to a spilt Gordon ball was swooped on by the second rower Luke Ratcliff. Ratcliff sporting the El Chapo Guzman moustache exploited a small gap and offloaded to his support Clunies-Ross. For a man approaching eligibility for a gold Opal card Clunies-Ross outpaced the Gordon defenders to touch down under the posts. Scores had narrowed to 19-17 but again the aggressive Gordon pack punched through to score once they were within the five metre zone.

But things got even more interesting when University inside the Gordon half were given a penalty. Sensing a moment of casualness by Gordon, breakaway Sam Allsopp took a quick tap and sprinted downfield to score untouched under the posts. Winger Jack Matthews converted and scores were now level.

Both sides were going full throttle at each other. When University were awarded a penalty inside the Gordon quarter there was a moment where either kick or not pervaded the ground. Kick for goal was the option taken and Jack Matthews did so. Now University were in the lead 27-24. The clock was winding down and Gordon was on mission to get out of gaol.

The fairy tale ending of happily ever after evaded University. University were literally exhausted but hanging on by a dental floss less than two minutes from the end. Gordon gambled by running the ball inside their half. The ball was spread fast and created an overlap. Some backing up saw Gordon race away for a match winning converted try. University were battered and bruised but still had thirty seconds left on the game clock. An illegal take out at the ruck allowed University one last chance to snatch the game with a five metre lineout.

But luck was not going to fall University’s way as the ball was stolen mid air by Gordon to end the game. Final score was 31-27. A close battle but a number of debutants acquitted themselves admirably by stepping up to help the club in these trying times.

Things do not get easier next Saturday. University have a battle against undefeated competition leaders Warringah at home.


*Agastopia – Admiration of a particular part of a person’s body.