Defending Shute Shield premiers Eastwood moved to within a point of Sydney University on the ladder with their 19-6 win at T.G. Millner Field on Saturday.
The Round 12 fixture, played in wet and windy conditions, saw the hosts keep Sydney University tryless, as they moved to second place on the ladder.
Sydney University lead the Shute Shield on 45 points, with Eastwood (44), Southern Districts (40), Eastern Suburbs (40), Warringah (39) and Northern Suburbs (38) making up a congested top six.
Despite the loss in First Grade, the Students maintained a clear lead on the Club Championship with 1954 points, clear of Eastern Suburbs (1765), Randwick (1760) and Eastwood (1720).
Sydney University ran with a strong wind at their backs in the first stanza on Saturday and spent long periods camped in Eastwood’s quarter without producing a try.
But they took 6-nil lead into the break, with fullback Angus Roberts bookending the half with penalty goals.
Eastwood opened the second half with a sustained period of phase play in the University half that produced two tries and two penalty goals.
Winger Ben Shorter went over in the right corner after a long build-up and a standard backline play with fullback Johnathon Malo entering the fray to create an overlap.
The second came after another lengthy phase build-up, with halfback Matt Gonzalez and winger Jarome MacKenzie working the blind side of a ruck to send outside-centre Mike McDougall over in the left corner.
Five-eighth Jai Ayoub had landed penalty goals each side of the tries for a 16-6 advantage.
Running into the gusty wind, the Students hit back with a long period in the Eastwood quarter without breaching the defence. They gave up two possible penalty goal chances in search of tries that never came against an umbrella defence around the breakdown.
Ayoub wrapped up proceedings with a late penalty goal in a match that produced plenty of positive football despite the conditions.
The University pack once again handled themselves with aplomb at the set pieces, with lock Matthew Philip and flanker Rohan O’Regan producing some telling defensive efforts.
Sydney University will host Penrith at the campus Football Ground this Saturday.
Sydney Men’s Premier Grade rugby competition – Round 12
First Grade – Shute Shield: Eastwood 19 (Mike MacKenzie McKenzie, Ben Shorter tries; Jai Ayoub 3 pen goals) defeated Sydney University 6 (Angus Roberts 2 pen goals) at T.G. Millner Field.
Second Grade- Colin Caird Shield: Sydney University 15 (Hamish Dunbar, Christian Yassmin tries; Byron Hodge goal, pen goal) defeated Eastwood 3 (Max Page pen goal) at T.G. Millner Field.
Third Grade – Henderson Shield: Sydney University 45 (Benjamin Carolan, Rhys Dombkins, Oliver Gresham, Sam Quinn, Edward L’Estrange, Dylan Vieira, Fred Burdon, Richie Williams 5 goals) defeated Eastwood 19 (Sam McCaffrey 2, Brodie Monroe tries; Jackson Bird 2 goals) at T.G. Millner Field.
Fourth Grade – Henderson Cup: Sydney University 14 (Pen try, Tom Wilson try; Tom Wilson 2 goals) defeated Eastwood 3 (Mark Frost pen goal) at T.G. Millner Field.
Games postponed due to weather conditions.
Sydney Women’s Premier Grade – Round 9
First Grade: Postponed due to weather conditions.