Sydney University’s indifferent start to the 2015 Shute Shield rugby competition took a step in the right direction at Forshaw Park on Saturday when First Grade completed a clean sweep for the day with a 40-24 result over Southern Districts.
While the scoreboard suggests a try-fest, it was in fact the boot of replacement second-rower Byron Hodge who provided the bulk of the points in the three tries to two result.
Hodge accounted for 25 points of the Students’ points with seven penalties and two conversions, while five-eighth Ben Volavola, the man who ended Sydney University’s 2014 campaign with an after-the-bell sideline penalty in the qualifying final, potted two conversions and three penalties for the hosts.
The Students led 24-3 at halftime on the back of Hodges’ boot and tries from halfback Jake Gordon and winger Mark O’Dare. Gordon eagerly accepted a loose pass in a Souths attacking raid and ran 45m to score in the corner, while O’Dare was on the end of a routine backline play off a lineout just before the break.
The hosts were first out of the blocks in the second half and set up camp in University’s quarter, where they rucked and mauled their way to the line for halfback Richy Williams to dummy his way over.
Hodge kept the lead heavily in the Students’ favour with long-range penalties before fullback Jack Macklin sealed the deal when he toed a loose ball up the sideline and won the race to score off a favourable bounce.
Despite the win, Sydney University still trail Southern Districts on the Shute Shield ladder which is headed by undefeated defending premiers Eastwood on 24 points, with Manly (23), Northern Suburbs (20), Randwick (20), Southern Districts (19) and Sydney University (10) making up the top six.
Randwick head the Club Championship ladder on 882 points, with Eastwood (843), Manly (777), Northern Suburbs (680) and Sydney University (650) in hot pursuit after five competition rounds.
Sydney University also on Second, Third and Fourth grades and the thee Colts grades on Saturday.
The Students cross the harbour this Saturday to do battle with Northern Suburbs at North Sydney Oval.
Sydney Premier Grade competition – Round 5
First Grade Sydney University 40 (Jake Gordon, Mark O’Dare, Jack Macklin tries; Byron Hodge 2 goals, 7 pen goals) d Southern Districts 24 (pen try, Richy Williams try; Ben Volavola 2 goals, 3 pen goals) at Forshaw Rugby Park on Saturday.
Second Grade: Sydney University 41 (Mathew Hood 2, Matthew Narracott 2, Samuel Quinn, Benn Melrose, Rohan O’Regan tries; Jock Merriman 3 goals) d Southern Districts 21 (Josh Petero, Marco Ricci, D Byrne tries; M Ricci 3 goals).
Third Grade: Sydney University 27 (Josh Friend 2, George Hudd, Mesake Tagituimua tries; Will Macklin 2 goals, pen goal) d Southern Districts 18 (Zach Rasmussen, Nic McCarthy tries; Nic McCarthy goal, 2 pen goals).
Fourth Grade: Sydney University 34 (Eddie L’Estrange 3, Josh Koops, Thomas Wilson tries; Thomas Wilson 3 goals, pen goal) d Southern Districts 9 (Nathan Dwyer 3 pen goals).
First Grade: Sydney University 36 (6 ties) d Southern Districts 15.
Second Grade: Sydney University 36 (6 ties) d Southern Districts 5.
Third Grade: Sydney University 22 d Southern Districts 10.