“Job done and finals to come.” These significant words from Head Coach, Rob Taylor summarising what had occurred and the road ahead. University were basking in a 66-21 victory over Gordon last Saturday night at the SUFG’s Rounders Day. A day named in honour of our beloved late club stalwart Stephen Rowntree in recognition of the roles played by our volunteers.
A 15th consecutive Club Championship and 2018 Minor Premiership was also cemented in another impressive achievement for the University club.
Tries were coming thick and fast from University’s young brigade. Nine minutes had shown on the ground clock when outside centre Harry Potter scored the first try for the day. The ball moved through the backline hands and somehow Potter gracefully glided through gaps reminiscent of a Hogwarts Hall northern pygmy owl to score a runaway first try. 7-0 soon ticked over to 14-0 as returning Waratah halfback Jake Gordon’s cheeky quick tap and pass down the blind saw winger Henry Clunies-Ross score.
The mere presence of Jake Gordon was tantamount to Charlton Heston’s Moses parting the Red Sea in The Ten Commandments. Gordon had an incredible dominance during the game. Hooker Tom Horton endorsed this title when he was put through a gap by Gordon to score under the posts for a 21-0 lead.
University were on a mission to secure that Minor Premiership and this occurred through the combined efforts of Horton offloading to flanker Mitch Whiteley scoring the fourth bonus point try in record time. This was not what Donald Trump refers to as fake news. It was the real deal a Minor Premiership and that record 15th consecutive Club Championship!
The University attack was relentless not allowing Gordon to take a breath. Two further rapid tries were scored by University for a significant halftime lead of 40-0.
Rounders Day had a different format this year. A rather sharp looking indigenous jersey designed by club player Liam Coe was worn by 1st Grade. An exhibition 10’s square off was the curtain raiser between the NSW Fire and Rescue (NSWFR) and the Police. In an entertaining spectacle of running rugby, the fire fighters were again triumphant. Once again the lure of the Krispy Kreme donut was the Achilles heel for the Police! Much appreciated to organisers Derek Pontois of the Police and Mike Wren of NSWFR for supporting the University club.
What does one do when you’re ahead 40-0 at halftime? Grab a Greek lambs brain gyros from Luke Mitchell’s grandstand kitchen or just maintain the momentum? The latter took precedence as Jake Gordon executed a no look pass to allow replacement hooker Ben Carolan to score a great try. 47-0 was the score just at the beginning of the second half. University were looking awesome but for how long?
Gordon hurting but still with traces of pride mounted a mini comeback with three quick tries through teamwork and perseverance. 47-21 was the new scoreline perhaps still too much for Gordon to peg back.
Stung by the Highlanders counterpunch, University replied with three more tries to end Gordon’s season. 66-21 a solid victory to conclude the 2018 regular season. The significance of the victory was sinking in. Club President Angus Stuart was in reflection mode, “Momentum is something you work so long for. It’s great that we are building up for more of this.”
Amongst the dressing room scenes the players were dancing a celebratory jig some dressed in Newtown drag drinking ale from a cup. The Shute Shields most beautiful winger Henry Clunies-Ross was grinning from cheek to cheek, “I owe a lot to my parents, especially my mother and father,” said the stand up winger-comedian.
Former club President David Mortimer AO mingling with the celebrating players had the final words, “I loved tonight although we sneaked them twenty one points in the second half which I didn’t like. But there was some great action from the players.”
The finals charge commences next week when the Students will play the sixth placed Eastern Suburbs in a home Semi-final.
T. Horton (1), M. Whiteley (1), J. Gordon (1), J. Kane (1), H. Potter (1), T. Clements (1), B. Carolan (1), W. Cocker (1), T. Strang (1)
J. Kane (8)