A 22-point haul from five-eighth Berrick Barnes helped Sydney University to a 42-17 win over Eastern Suburbs in their elimination semi-final at Coogee Oval on Saturday – and another step closer to a Shute Shield defence and a sixth-straight premiership.
The Wallaby utility back, playing his first run-on match for the Students, landed two conversions, four penalty goals and a pair of well-taken field goals to help his side control the scoreboard throughout.
With halfback Nick Phipps and captain Tim Davidson scoring first-half tries to go with 19 points from Barnes, the Students led 29-3 at the break. Davidson and flanker Dave Dennis scored tries in the second half for a comprehensive result.
Sydney University will now meet Southern Districts in one semi-final, with Randwick to meet minor premiers Eastwood in the other – the Wicks caused an upset in defeating Manly 29-25 in their elimination semi-final at T.G. Milner Field on Sunday.
“In games against a side like that you’re never in the clear because they can put points on pretty quickly, like they did in the second half (when Will Brock and Ed Brenac scored tries for Eastern Suburbs to close the margin),” Barnes said.
“I knew we had to produce in the second half and we held on pretty well.”
Barnes was replaced late in the match by Dan Kelly, who contributed a conversion and a penalty goal.
The only downside on the day for Sydney University was the elimination of Third Grade from the finals race when they went down 18-15 to Warringah in a closely-fought affair.
Sydney University advanced in Second Grade with a 58-0 win over West Harbour, and Fourth Grade, with a 12-11 win over Southern Districts.
And Sydney University’s three Colts teams are through to the grand finals after wins in their preliminary finals on Saturday. First Grade defeated Randwick 58-19; Second Grade defeated West Harbour 52-0; and Third Grade defeated Eastern Suburbs 33-10.
First Grade: Sydney University 42 (Tim Davidson 2, Nick Phipps, Dave Dennis tries; Berrick Barnes 4 pen goals, 2 goals, 2 field goals, Dan Kelly goal, pen goal) d Eastern Suburbs 17 (Will Brock, Ed Brenac tries; Brendan McKibbin 2 goals, pen goal) at Coogee Oval.
Second Grade: Sydney University 58 (Pen try, Michael Hodge 3, M Roberts, Paddy Ryan, Tom Kingston, Jeremy Atkins, Justin Bosilkovski tries; Justin Bosilkovski 5 goals, pen goal) d West Harbour 0.
Third Grade: Warringah 18 (Matt Bate, Jamie Horton, Paul Cook tries; Ryan Butcher pen goal) d Sydney University 15 (Bernard Foley, Ed Bredenhann tries; Ed Bredenhann goal, pen goal).
Fourth Grade: Sydney University 12 (Duncan Hardy, Cameron Lawrence tries; James Metcalfe goal) d Southern Districts 11 (Michael Black try; Josh Sund 2 pen goals).
Colts – Preliminary finals at Forshaw Rugby Park
First Grade: Sydney University 58 d Randwick 19.
Second Grade: Sydney University 52 d West Harbour 0.
Third Grade: Sydney University 33 d Eastern Suburbs 10.