Sydney University vs Parramatta
By Bruce ‘China’ Lin

An 80-31 victory over Parramatta on the final game of the regular season was admirable but unfortunately was not enough to progress to the semi finals next week. The dreaded for and against points was the deciding factor and Eastwood squeezed into the top six after defeating Penrith.

However it was not all doom and gloom as the University Club for the 14th consecutive year achieved the Sydney Club Rugby championship.  Six other grades of the University Club will do battle next week during the semi finals race.

University commenced the game with an objective of maintaining field position to score points in quick succession. Parramatta was stoic during the first ten minutes denying the Students early points. The day’s points finally commenced following a five metre rolling maul from a line out resulting in a converted try.

University were throwing the ball from all corners of the ground. 1st Grade debutant outside centre James Armstrong with great balance and speed set up a try in the northern corner for Kagiassis to convert his own try.

University had now acquired their rythym and confidence. The next try will go down in records as one of pinnacles of Ripley’s Believe it or Not! The ball was spread wide by the Students inside their 22 metre area. When it reached hooker Stewart Nutt one would have thought he would have offloaded to his faster winger. But the happy hooker decided to destroy the myth that all hookers were extras from Lord of the Rings. With a dummy and change of pace defenders were hoodwinked. Nutt took off downfield like a Road Runner burning, scorching the turf to run untouched for 70 metres to score downfield. An incredible feat and a testament to his dedication towards his daily Tibetan ginseng man shake allowing him to look, and run like a fifteen year old Jamaican!

Outside centre Armstrong remerged after a piercing run by fullback Tom Kingston. Kingston joining the backline made the extra man and drew enough defenders to allow the colt with the Milky Bar Kid looks to score out wide. Kagiassis was on fire converting the try to increase University’s scoreline to 35-0.

Two more University tries came in quick succession until Parramatta’s stalwart Captain Andrew Cox exploited a loosely marked ruck to score their first points at halftime. 40-5 was the score at the break.

Of all 2017’s half time entertainment Parramatta’s 50-100 metre sprint and push up challenge were great spectacles. 2nd Grades youthful whippet like water runner Liam Whitaker won the sprint in a blink of an eye. But when he saw the ASADA testers waiting at the finish line he forfeited his $50 winners reward and continued south down Woodville Road. His mother Robyn later received a mobile call to collect him at the Lansvale meccano set.

The second half was a deluge of tries Armstrong’s thrilling chip and chase, Henry Clunies–Ross crashing in the southern corner, five metre scrums and many flowing backline raids. But the proud Two Blues came to fight and also scored their swag of tries.

University were making the scoreboard attendant worth his time and half Saturday penalty rate. The scoreline was reaching the high seventies and the day ended with Tom Kingston using his speed to set up Clunies-Ross for University’s final try. Parramatta continued to punch hard and scored 31 points to conclude their season.

80-31 was the final score. 1st Grade not in the semi finals is a bitter pill to swallow. But in a way it allows the Club to rebuild for the future. There is enormous talent filtering from the Colts. Many of these under 20s have been blooded in 1st Grade and have excelled. The Club is in a fortunate position for future years.

There is still the rest of the Club doing battle next week in their semi finals. The blue and gold hoops will be seen somewhere around Sydney. Find out where here. >