The one that got away
The value of a kicker was very much in evidence in the match-of-the-day at Woollahra Oval on Saturday when Eastern Suburbs defeated University 16-13 in their round 10 Shute Shield clash.
Easts were desperate for a win after losing their last three games. With the pleasant fumes of a barbecue and fresh coffee wafting among the colourful crowd on Ladies Day, the Easts lads did not disappoint.
With the inclusion of the dynamic Phil Waugh at open side flanker, University could not bust open a determined Eastern Suburbs defence in the first half. Both sides scored a try apiece but the radar like boot of Easts' Waratah halfback Brendan McKibbin ensured that all kicks at goal were converted to points.
The first half was a dour 40 minutes with referee Steve Hardy repeatedly penalising both sides for indiscretions. The low half time score of 9-6 to Easts highlighted this.
At half-time University's coaches with the stockbroking-like label, Mumm and Cadwallader, emphasised that speed off the mark to cut down Easts' time and space was crucial to victory.
These instructions seemed to work as four minutes into the second half a swift backline movement saw University winger Nathan Trist chip over the top from inside the Easts 10-metre line.
A lucky bounce saw Trist regather and feed the ball to captain Tom Carter, who loomed up on the inside to score near the uprights. Fullback Julian Huxley converted and University led 13-9.
The Students could not rest on their laurels as the remainder of the match was a repeat of the first half with tight marking and heavy hits.
With seven minutes remaining, Easts regained the lead through giant prop Ofa Fainga'anuku, who crashed over in the scoreboard corner. McKibbin converted from the sideline to take the score to 16-13 in Easts favour.
University attempted to come back but Easts cleverly wound down the clock like Martin Johnson's English team and when the full-time siren sounded the Easts crowd and players jumped for joy - not unlike a 50 per cent off Gucci sale at Knox St, Double Bay.
In the lower grades, University Seconds accounted for Easts 37-24, Third Grade failed to carry on their strong win against Manly by losing 23-10, and Fourth Grade lost to a well-drilled Easts 22-11.
The three Colts teams also recorded wins.
Sydney Grade competition - Round 10
First Grade: Eastern Suburbs 16 (Ofa Fainga'anuku try; Bendan McKibbin goal, 3 pen goals) d Sydney University 13 (Tom Carter try; Julian Huxley goal, 2 pen goals) at Woollhara Oval.
Second Grade: Sydney University 37 (Hugh Hawkins, Matt Schwager, Lachlan Rosengreen, Dan Kelly tries (Justin Bosilkovski 4 goals, 3 pen goals) d Eastern Suburbs 24 (Fergus Dorney, James Burroughs, Greg Franzel tries; Harry Bennett 3 goals, pen goal).
Third Grade: Eastern Suburbs 23 (James Devlin, Warwick Percival tries; Warwick Percival 2 goals, 3 pen goals) d Sydney University 10 (James McMahon try; Nick Phipps goal, pen goal).
Fourth Grade: Eastern Suburbs 22 (A. Kaikau, Matt Willett, Jack Denning tries; S. Burke goal, 2 pen goals) d Sydney University 11 James Metcalf try, 2 pen goals).
First Grade: Sydney University 35 (5 tries) d Eastern Suburbs 17.
Second Grade: Sydney University 33 (5 tries) d Eastern Suburbs 7.
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