Randwick joined Sydney University and Southern Districts at the top of the Shute Shield ladder with their 36-26 win over the Students at Coogee Oval on Saturday.

The hosts were too clinical for Sydney University in the six tries to four win. The short story: In an entertaining end-to-end affair, Randwick took most of their chances, while Sydney University made too many mistakes (read dropped ball and bad passes) when they reached the red zone. And it cost them dearly.

Sydney University head the Shute Shield ladder on for and against on 51 points, with Southern Districts (51), Randwick (51), Northern Suburbs (48), Manly (47) and Eastern Suburbs (46) making up the top six.

And with wins in six of the seven games on Saturday, Sydney University remain at the top of the Club Championship on 2370 points, with Randwick (2145) and Eastern Suburbs (2125) in close contention.

Sydney University’s first mistake on Saturday was a bad clearance from the start of play. Randwick number eight Sam Croke cracked the defence with a long run and from the resulting inside centre David Horwitz and winger Seamus Frost combined to send outside centre Brogan Roods over in the corner. It was 5-nil inside three minutes.

Croke was on hand for the second try after the Wicks moved the ball from the left flank to the right flank and back off a five-metre lineout. Five-eighth Andrew Deegan landed the conversion and the host led 12-nil in as many minutes.

Operating on the back of three successive penalties, Randwick continued the assault until the Students finally gained some ball and returned serve. But dropped passes on the end of multiple phase attacks kept them scoreless until the 24th minute when outside centre Jim Stewart sent winger Christian Kagiassis over after a regulation backline play off a lineout.

Randwick retaliated from the restart with halfback Mitch Short scooting away from a lineout and then scoring off a ruck two plays later. Deegan converted for a 19-5 scoreline.

And just before halftime, the hosts posted a bonus point try when Deegan and fullback Andrew Kellaway combined to send Croke over for his second. Randwick went to the break leading 24-5 having played the last 10 minutes of the half against 14 men, with the Students having lost number eight Jake Wainright to a yellow card for a lifting tackle.

The two sides traded tries at the opening of the second half, with Sydney University five-eighth Ben Hughes collecting a fumbled pass and leaving defenders in his wake in a 35m run to the line. Fullback Angus Roberts converted.

Randwick replied with a seven-phase attack that ended with Frost scoring in the corner for a 29-12 scoreline.

But the Students hit back with two tries, the first to halfback Jake Gordon after Tom Carter had taken a quick tap penalty, and the next to prop Paddy Ryan on the back of another quick tap penalty. Roberts converted both for a 29-26 scoreline and an intriguing finish.

Randwick immediately gained territorial sway with a bad kick-off reception by the Students and after a number of phases in the University quarter Kellaway jinked his way through to score wide out. Deegan landed the extras and the Students were left playing catch-up football.

The hosts had good performers in Croke, Kellaway, Deegan and flanker Mark Baldwin, while the Students were well served by Carter, Stewart and Gordon in the backs, and hooker Folau Fainga’a, lock Calum Buckling and flanker Rohan O’Regan in the forwards.

Sydney University will host Warringah at the campus Football Ground this Saturday.

First Grade (Shute Shield)

First Grade: Randwick 36 (Sam Croke 2, Mitch Short, Seamus Frost, Brogan Roods, Andrew Kellaway tries; Andrew Deegan 3 goals) defeated Sydney University 26 (Paddy Ryan, Jake Gordon, Ben Hughes, Christian Kagiassis tries; Angus Roberts 3 goals at Sydney Coogee Oval.