Students consolidate fourth on ladder

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Back-to-back wins over Gordon at Chatswood Oval and Randwick at University No.1 Oval have consolidated Sydney University’s hold on fourth place on the Shute Shield Sydney Premier Rugby ladder.

Unbeaten Eastwood head the competition with 42 points after nine rounds, with  Eastern Suburbs (32), Manly (31), Sydney University (29),  Gordon (23) and Southern Districts (23) making up the top six. Randwick (23) were relegated to 7th after Saturday’s 29-12 loss to the Students on a boggy track at the University.

Played in front of a members of SUFC’s undefeated 1991 USA-Ireland tour group, who were holding a 20-year reunion, Sydney University had Randwick’s measure from the fifth minute when the young host pack walked the Randwick scrum over their tryline resulting in University number eight Trent Dyer scoring.  Five eighth Dan Kelly converted the try and added a penalty goal soon after for a 10-nil lead.

Despite the conditions, Randwick spread the ball wide in their early attacking sorties, one of which resulted in a penalty try when the final pass missed the mark because the intended catcher had been tackled early with a try begging. Five-eighth Toby Browne converted from in front to cut the score to 10-7.

The Wicks attacked again from the restart and after setting up camp near the University quarter line, they shifted the ball to the left with fullback Shaun Foley entering the backline to crash over in the Grandstand corner for a 12-10 lead.

The first half saw some fierce exchanges, with referee Angus Gardner issuing yellow cards to Randwick flanker Tim McGann and his University opposite Dave Hickey for indiscretions. Theirs was a battle within a battle throughout.

Randwick lost another player courtesy of a yellow – and the lead – just before the break. The Students had been building phase play down the right flank when Foley lifted University outside-centre Michael Hodge in a tackle that was deemed dangerous. As he departed for a 10-minute break, Kelly landed the penalty goal for a 13-12 half-time lead.

The Students engaged another gear to start the second half, and their enthusiasm and aggression brought possession and field position, resulting in Kelly landing another three penalty goals for a 22-12 lead after 60 minutes.

The young University pack continued the momentum with pick-and-drive play and in an attempt to stem the tide, Randwick prop Justin Terry was given a stint in the sin bin for offside play at the ruck.

With eight minutes on the clock, the Students’ halfback and captain Matt Schwager and five-eighth Kelly shifted the attack to the left. Kelly’s cut-out pass found a straight runner in winger Michael Hodge, who ran through a big gap to score next to the posts. Kelly landed the extras for a telling win.

But the McGann-Hickey battle within a battle continued and with the clock ticking down they went toe-to-toe, resulting in a second yellow card (an automatic send-off) for Hickey.

Having put a clean-sweep on Gordon, the Students lost just the one match – Second Grade – against Randwick to stay well in front on the Club Championship and the Colts Club Championship ladders.

All roads will lead across the Harbour this Saturday, when Sydney University take on Manly at Manly Oval in the ABC-TV Match-of-the –Day.

Scoreboard

Sydney Premier Grade competition – Round 9

First Grade: Sydney University 29 (Trent Dyer, Michael Hodge tries; Dan Kelly 2 goals, 5 pen goals) d Randwick 12 (Pen try, Shaun Foley try; Toby Browne goal) at Sydney University No.1 Oval.

Second Grade: Randwick 44 (Ethan Ford 2, Jack Tovey, Adrian Duchini, Tom Joseph, John Tamanika tries; Jai Ayoub 4 goals, 2 pen goals) d Sydney University 26 (Jack de Guingand, Tom Boidin, Levi Dodd, Tom English tries; Michael Gallenetti 3 goals).

Third Grade: Sydney University 13 (Zumbayr Abrahams try; Jack Macklin goal, 2 pen goals) d Randwick 10 (Chris Barron, Michael Gibson tries).

Fourth Grade: Sydney University 18 (Brock Baillie, Connor Foley tries; James Cameron goal, 2 pen goals) d Randwick 11 (Andrew Wing-Kee try; Dominic Bower 2 pen goals).

Colts

First Grade: Sydney University 40 (6 tries) d Randwick 20.

Second Grade: Sydney University 48 (8 tries) d Randwick 24.

Third Grade: Sydney University 14 drew with Randwick 14.

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