With the world and our nation beset by conflict, a global pandemic and natural disasters, the imminent start of the 2022 Shute Shield season is a welcome respite.

In the first official club trial, University was defeated by arch nemesis Eastwood 19-14 in literally the dying seconds of the game.

Both sides were hellbent in smashing each other to kingdom come with heavy hits galore in the first half. The Eastwood fifteen were a heavy weight side compared to University who looked particularly well conditioned. University loose head prop Charlie ‘Chuck’ Hancock looks ripped and ready to grace the cover of GQ magazine in the near future.

Although Eastwood scored first, University eventually reached parity. There was no give or take from both teams playing on the rain sodden track. University were giving the ball ample movement through the service of halves Banjo Travers and Jude Gibbs to his motor men in fullback Angus Bell and deceptive winger the Fijian fashionista Sepesa Loga-Tarogi. However, an occasional knock on stymied the continuity.

The second half commenced where the first half ended with plenty of big hits and attacking flair from both sides. Eastwood struck first to lead 14-7.  For the remainder of the half this scoreline stood until the final two minutes. There was no doubting the University resolve when their signature rolling maul came into play. With an attacking five-metre line-out University commenced to grind towards the Eastwood goal line.

Sir Isacc Newton’s third theory was being applied for all to see being that every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. The surging University maul drove over the line to plant a try which was converted.

However, the old saying play to the whistle escaped University. There was literally forty seconds left in the game from the kickoff. The ball was kicked off but bizarrely the ball was allowed to bounce. A following through Eastwood player regathered and ran like a Road Runner towards the University posts. He eventually linked with his support who crashed over. Eastwood were elated, not so the Students. A painful lesson learnt no doubt for the young University team.

Next week another trial will see the Students do battle with another old foe, Eastern Suburbs at Woollahra Oval.