Eridge Park was a sea of SUV’s, encircling the pine tree lined ground blaring out the theme to 1960’s sit com Green Acres for the visiting city folk to get into the country mood.
Unfortunately University’s recent good run ended. In a dogged see sawing encounter, Norths were 32- 26 victors.
The hospitality was warm but the conditions were akin to Jack Nicholson’s eerie – The Shining. The rain was misty making the ground heavy and the ball slippery like a cake of Sunlight soap .
Norths capitalised on any lapses by University and soon they were in front with an early penalty. But the Students refocused and commenced to inch their way inside the Norths quarter with some ferocious rucking. Their endeavours paid off when a final surge saw hooker Tolu Latu crash over for a converted try.
Norths experience saw that bustling University was the most effective course of action. As such the Students could not form any reasonable continuity. Soon the Norths scoreline had increased to 15-7 with some relatively easy tries.
Just before half time University had some rare luck when they were able to camp themselves inside the Norths quarter. An attacking five metre scrum was reset a number of times. The University pack was shunting the red and black pack back to the Sutton Forest. An almighty University surge later saw Captain Rohan O’Regan at the back of the scrum score. The conversion saw a narrow 15-14 scoreline going into half time or as they commonly refer to around stylish Bowral – pause a la mi-temps.
The resumption after the break could not have started worse for the Students. A clearing kick from Norths was fumbled into touch. Norths commenced to grind downfield. When inside the twenty two metre area they spread the ball wide scoring and changing the scores 22-14 in their favour.
University later were able to reverse the monopoly of possession when they again camped inside the Norths quarter. An attacking five metre lineout saw the blue and gold pack engineer a gigantic rolling maul. Norths had no answer to this surge and conceded a try. The conversion was unsuccessful but at 22-19 with thirty minutes left there was still plenty of action left in the game.
University were running on a high now and were pounding Norths from all angles. The Students superior scrum had a five metre scrum to be set. The ball was channelled back through the scrum. Following a number of rucks the ball was passed to the open and five eighth Daniel Poletto scored a converted try. Scores reflected 26-22 to the Students. But the wounded Norths were not to be outdone. When Students outside centre Potter was sin binned for an alleged knockdown, the pressure was now on the Students with just over ten minutes left in the game.
University had a wafer thin lead of 26-25. Norths in the spirit of the Southern Highlands threw their tartans and R.M Williams boxes at the University defence. The constant pressure and one man advantage saw Norths score out wide for the final score of 32-26.
Although disappointing for University, there are long term benefits. University are well aware of what lies ahead to seek a 2018 premiership.
Next week University travel to the north shore where we meet Gordon at Chatswood Oval.
Tries – Tolu Latu (2), Rohan O’Regan (1), Daniel Poletto (1)
Conversions – James Kane (2), Daniel Poletto (1)