History buffs were scurrying for the record books when Sydney University lost their four grade matches to Eastwood at T.G. Milner Field in Round 8 of Sydney’s Premier rugby union competition on Saturday.

The hosts prevailed 34-29 in First Grade, having already won Seconds 27-21, Thirds 30-6 and Fourths 22-21. It was just the third time since 1996 that the Students have lost the top four grades in the one round. It was left to Sydney University’s three Colts sides to carry the day, with First prevailing 45-14, Seconds 45-5 and Thirds 39-8.

Defending premiers Eastwood remained undefeated in the Shute Shield competition with their six try to four result. But it was a result that could have gone either way with the lead changing hands four times.

The Students opened with attack in mind and posted a 14-nil lead in as many minutes, with flanker and captain David Hickey splitting the defence with an explosive run to score near the uprights, and inside centre Tom Carter electing to take a quick tap and surge over from a penalty near the Woodies line. Second-rower Bydon Hodge converted both efforts.

The hosts hit back through tries to winger Ben Shorter and fullback Ben Batger, who ran the length of the field off an intercept. He converted his try to take the score to 14-12. Winger John Grant put the Woodies in front for the first time with a try late in the half, with Batger’s conversion making a 19-14 scoreline.

But not to be outdone, Hickey crossed for his second try to level proceedings and Hodge’s conversion put the Students up 21-19. With halftime imminent, a Batger penalty put the hosts in front 22-21 at the break.

Hodge regained the lead for the Students with a penalty early in the second half, but Eastwood held sway again when halfback Mick Snowden scooted over and Batger converted. And when hooker Todd Pearce posted a try midway through the half the hosts held a 34-24 lead.

The entertainment and commitment between the two old rivals didn’t cease and when University winger Mark O’Dare scored off a diagonal kick from five-eighth Stuart Dunbar, the 34-29 scoreline kept the tension simmering until the final whistle.

The Students left T.G. Milner wondering what might have been had second-rower Liam Winton’s first half ‘try’ not been disallowed.

The action shifts to Concord Oval this Saturday when West Harbour host Sydney University in the four grade matches.


First Grade: Eastwood 34 (Todd Pearce, Mick Snowden, John Grant, Ben Shorter, Ben Batger tries; Ben Batger 3 goals, pen goal) d Sydney University 29 (David Hickey 2, Tom Carter, Mark O’Dare tries; Byron Hodge 3 goals, pen goal) at T.G. Milner Field on Saturday.

Second Grade: Eastwood 27 (Dave Piukala 2, Arthur Currie, Nick Batger tries; Blake Sutton 2 goals, pen goal) d Sydney University 21 (Jock Merriman 2, Matthew Narracott tries; Jock Merriman 3 goals).

Third Grade: Eastwood 30(Alex Del Moro 2, Jackson Bird, Nick O’Connor, Mick Tomone, Matt Matson tries) d Sydney University 6 (William Macklin 2 pen goals).

Fourth Grade: Eastwood 22 (Lachie Parker, Matt Matson, Sione Kupu tries; Taylor Matherson 2 goals, Jack Touris pen goal) d Sydney University 21 (Sione Talanoa, Malachy Mullin, Joshua King tries; Thomas Wilson goal, Chris O’Donnell 2 goals).


First Grade: Sydney University 45 (7 tries) d Eastwood 14.

Second Grade: Sydney University 45 (7 tries) d Eastwood 5.

Third Grade: Sydney University 39 (6 tries) d Eastwood 8.