University’s opening home game for the 2020 season was a game in stark contrast to the excitement of last week.

The game was worthy of a study at Glebe’s Woolcock Clinic *. University defeated Manly by a gargantuan score of 10-6.

The temperature was cold, the skies were grey and drizzling so the setting was set for an afternoon of dour play. The match started off well as University were pinning Manly inside their quarter with some stout defence. When University managed to secure possession their tradecraft second phase recycling kicked in.

The Manly five metre zone was being belted by waves of University forwards. The tight forwards were low to the ground and driving ever so near towards the Manly goal line. The ground clock displayed five minutes had elapsed and this was the time for University to register the first and the entire games only try. After a phase of rucking the ball shot to the left through some slick hands. Then the man with the double barrelled name, Henry Clunies-Ross crashed over for a converted try.

The Students moment of enterprise was brief as the remainder of the half was riddled with scrum resets, mistakes and stop start play. Manly had scored two consolation penalty goals for a halftime score of 7-6.

Our merchandise stand was still in full operation during these unprecedented Covid-19 times. All forms of souvenirs and gifts were on sale. Maybe some No-Doz tablets could have been on sale to help the crowd remain awake!

The second half was a procession of missed opportunities, and incessant scrum resets. University only scored a penalty whilst Manly did not score anything. Hooker Pat O’Doherty’s mother Dr Margaret Byrne summed up the consensus of the day. That modern day hybrid of a MASH medico or one of Richard Gordon’s characters in his Doctor novels belted out a phrase dear to her heart-  “Jesus,Mary & Joseph!” came from high in the stands. 10-6 was the final score for a win best forgotten.

After the game Club Captain, Tom Osborne ready to shower and don his dressing gown and slippers in the dressing room reminded everyone that these unprecedented times required sacrifices. Big Tom thanked everyone for adhering to the protocols, supporting the game which will hopefully make us come through in good shape.

Next week there is a two hour road trip to Newcastle where the Newcastle Hunter Wildfires return to play the Students in the Shute Shield.

*Woolcock Clinic – A sleep study centre.