With a plethora of representative players featuring on both sides, Randwick ran out 35-24 winners over a mistake-ridden Sydney University in their Round 12 Shute Shield clash at Coogee Oval on Saturday.
Sydney University established early territorial ascendancy but bombed two tries in the first 10 minutes. The hosts fed off the Students’ errors to establish a 20-10 half-time lead.
Randwick opened the scoring in the 14th minute when one of the most dangerous men on the field, Wallaby winger Drew Mitchell, bounced off a number of defenders like a human pin ball to score from midfield. Kurtley Beale converted for 7-0 scoreline.
When Sydney University winger Alfi Mafi went off with injury midway through the first half, the backline was reshuffled, with Wallaby Berrick Barnes making his debut for the club at five-eighth.
However, it was the dangerous Randwick backline that moved into overdrive through swift ball movement to winger Tom Tombleson – formerly with Sydney University – who scored in the corner. Beale landed the sideline conversion for a 14-0 lead.
With nine minutes remaining in the first half, University won a scrum five metres from the Randwick line and halfback Nick Phipps – back from Australian Sevens duties – darted through an opening to score. Fullback Julian Huxley’s conversion reduced the margin to 14-7.
But it was short-lived. Two University indiscretions resulted in referee Steve Walsh handing out penalties to Randwick. Beale landed both three-pointers for a handy half-time lead.
The second half opening was a repeat of the first as University mounted a wave of pick-and-drives in the Randwick half. The hard work paid dividends this time with number eight Tim Davidson scoring near the uprights for Huxley to convert. The Students were back in the hunt at 20-17.
But once again it was short-lived. Danger man Beale cut loose from a standing start from 35 metres out to score in the corner. He missed the conversion but the hosts led 25-17.
University fought back through a rolling maul from a five-metre lineout, with replacement flanker Jono Jenkins grabbing a five-pointer. Huxley’s conversion closed the scoreline to 25-24 with an exciting finish in store.
The Students failed to maintain the momentum, however, and after a period of broken play Beale struck again, this time courtesy of a mid-field bomb. University winger Peter Betham could not regather the bouncing ball cleanly and Randwick centre Nick Cummins collected the crumbs to crash over with desperate University players hanging off him. Beale converted and added a penalty goal late in proceedings for the hosts to win comfortably.
In the lower grades, Randwick won Seconds 30-23, Sydney University Thirds toppled the competition leaders 28-19, and Randwick won Fourths 31-17.
The Students recorded a clean sweep in Colts.
Sydney Grade competition – Round 12
First Grade: Randwick 35 (Kurtley Beale, Tom Tombleson, Nick Cummins, Drew Mitchell tries; Kurtley Beale 3 goals, 3 pen goals) d Sydney University 24 (Jono Jenkins, Nick Phipps, Tim Davidson tries; Julian Huxley 3 goals, pen goal) at Coogee Oval.
Second Grade: Randwick 30 (Paul Hannify, Dan Spencer, Matt McKay, Danny Kroll tries; Toby Browne goal, pen goal) d Sydney University 25 (Sam Roberson, Paddy Ryan, Lachlan Mitchell tries; Dan Kelly goal, 2 pen goals).
Third Grade: Sydney University 28 (Chris Chapman, Tim Broomham, Justin Bosilkovski, Matt Schwager tries; Justin Bosilkovski goal, 2 pen goals).
Fourth Grade: Randwick 31 (Imran Massoud 2, Andrew Waite, Michael Gibson tries; Glen Mekuri 4 goals, pen goal) d Sydney University 17 (Tom Campbell, James McMahon, Alex Tosich tries; James Cameron goal).
First Grade: Sydney University 32 (5 tries) d Randwick 21.
Second Grade: Sydney University 71 (11 tries) d Randwick 14.
Third Grade: Sydney University 73 (12 tries) d Randwick 5.
First Grade: Warringah 17 d Sydney University 15.