It wasn’t revenge; that can only happen in a grand final rematch; but Eastwood must have savoured their 36-15 win over Sydney University in their Round 9 Sydney Premier rugby clash at T.G. Millner Field on Saturday.
The five tries to two disposal of the premiers was clinically carried out like the ambushes of old at Millner when No.10 Tim Donnelly had the Miller brothers running onto grubbers and chips to counter University’s strong defensive lines.
On Saturday it was the Batger brothers, fullback Ben and winger Nick, with fellow winger John Grant, running off the plays of five-eighth Jai Ayoub.
The Students dominated territory for the opening 10 minutes with 12 and 13-phase plays failing to make at dent in the Eastwood defence. But when the hosts wheeled the first scrum to gain a tighthead, the game took on a different complexion.
Making the most of their first foray into University territory, Nick Batger took play deep down the left flank before the ball was moved back infield where Ayoub found hooker Todd Pearce with an inside pass for a try under the posts.
The hosts backed that up soon after when the five-eighth angled a well-placed grubber through the Students defensive line for Ben Batger to score next to the posts.
Midway through the half Ben angled a left-foot grubber to the line for Grant to score. The bonus point fourth try came on the stroke of half-time when Grant picked up a loose ball at the breakdown and raced 60 metres to score in the corner. With three Ayoub conversions, the hosts led 26-3 at the break.
Ben Batger’s second half try was countered by touchdowns from University wingers James Dargaville and Dave Dillon, with fullback Jack Macklin adding a conversion to his first half penalty.
The result saw Eastwood leapfrog Sydney University on the competition ladder which is headed by unbeaten Manly on 44 points, with Warringah (38), Eastwood (35), Sydney University (31), Randwick (25) and Southern Districts (23) making up the top six.
Which makes Friday’s night’s match between the Students and Randwick, under lights at Sydney University No.1 Oval, an intriguing affair. Kick-off is scheduled for 7.30pm.
The Students played out a 31-all draw in Reserve Grade on Saturday, Thirds went down 45-29 and Fourths won 11-7.
Sydney Men’s Premier Grade competition – Round 9
First Grade: Eastwood 36 (John Grant 2, Nick Batger, Ben Batger, Todd Pearce tries; Jai Ayoub 4 goals, pen goal) d Sydney University 15 (David Dillon, James Dargaville tries; Jack Macklin goal, pen goal) at T.G. Millner Field.
Second Grade: Eastwood 31 ( James Martin2, Tannous Ferris, Tim Williams, Ben Shorter tries; Pierre Hola 3 goals) drew with Sydney University 31 (Alistair Ryan, Jock Merriman, James McMahon, Oliver L’Estrange tries; Byron Hodge 4 goals, pen goal).
Third Grade: Eastwood 45 (Peli Lavaka 2, Tiueti Asi, Harry Bennett, Alex Belmoro, Sione Fangia, R Casaul tries; Harry Bennett 5 goals) d Sydney University 29 (Sam Quinn 2, Joseph Collingham Ben Cannon tries; Ben Lenehan 3 pen goals).
Fourth Grade: Sydney University 11 (Paul Caruana try; Billy Macklin 2 pen goals) d Eastwood 7 (Tyler Spitz try, Alex McGuire goal).
First Grade: Sydney University 49 (9 tries) d Eastwood 31 (4 tries).
Second Grade: Sydney University 35 (6 tries) d Eastwood 22 (4 tries).
Third Grade: Sydney University 19 drew with Eastwood 19.