The game of the season was played at “Death Valley” (Queens Park”) where Waverley hosted undefeated Knox.
If Knox won, the Championship would be theirs, in effect, and only the Fat Lady would be needed to make it official.
by “Anonymous Al”
The build-up was intense; the stakes were high and the match lived up to all expectations, at Death Valley.
It was a big match and both teams got off to a nervous start, particularly Waverley, but five minutes into the game this happened: Knox were on the attack but against the run of play 9 Tyzac Jordan intercepted a pass and sprinted 60 metres to score under the posts to kick-start a highly entertaining game. 15 James Mood converted. 7-0 Waves.
The Double V were on a roll and they were next to score through the rampaging Finn Wright. 12-0 Waves.
Waverley once again advanced the ball up field via their impressive ball skills and support play. Some of the offloads were magic to watch. The razzle-dazzle phases of play ended with 7 Ben O’Sullivan running a perfect line to burst onto a short ball from 10 Ben Donaldson. 19-0 Waves.
Then Knox turned the tide. From their own half 9 Leo Bosch opted to go the short side from a ruck. He passed to a support player who broke free and fed the ball to 12 Matt Horsely who outpaced the defence to score. 19-7 Waves.
The Double V continued playing their flamboyant running style of rugby much to the delight of the parochial crowd. After another strong run, Wright showed silky skills to offload to 8 Luca Moretti who raced 15 metres to dive over under the posts.
Half-time score: 26-7 Waves.
As in their first round clash, Knox started to dominate the second stanza. They won a lot of possession and used their big forwards to gain territorial advantage. Waverley resisted; defending doggedly and being particularly effective in containing the quick Knox backs.
However, Knox scored two excellent pick-and-drive tries, both by l4 Lachlan Ireland. Both tries were converted by Bosch. 26-21 Waves.
The last ten minutes of the game was intense and had the crowd on the edge of their seats. It was a see-sawing affair with both teams just about out on their feet after the torrid battle. Mistakes and penalties by both sides continually swayed the potential advantage, but the resilient defensive efforts by the tiring combatants maintained the scoreline.
Then Waverley received a penalty from a scrum right in front of the sticks. In true Double V style a player rushed in to take the tap but the captain made the call. Take the three points and put the game out of reach. Mood did just that.
That’s how it ended some minutes later, with streams of Waverley supporters rushing out onto the field. You’d like a dollar for every mobile phone that was held high to record the unique Double V victory song ‘’Custard Pie’’.
Final score: Waverley 29 – Knox 21
Jubilation for the home team, but what a match! Thank you for the entertainment, Waverley and Knox 1st XV players.
Waverley won it through their exuberant attacking play in the first half and their tenacious defence in the second. Full marks to the Waverley coaches for their game plan; using the grubber for the kick-offs was an interesting ploy and it worked. They also won line outs from Knox’s throw in.
Knox nearly rescued the game through their forward play in the second half but their backs were pretty well contained by their counterparts. Their line outs were not up to scratch.
All 15 players stood up for Waverley but Man of the Match was lock and captain Lachlan Drew-Morris. Finn Wright had a blinder and 12 Tom Fuller put on a memorable display of freakish ball skills. Hooker Adam Hassan impressed.
The same for Knox: all 15 stood up, but their best was 8 and Captain Milan Basson followed by 6 Hugh Margin, 9 Bosch and 13 James Armstrong.
It was schoolboy rugby at its finest; it was a game of two halves. It’s not over yet but it looks like they’ll be co-premiers.
Waverley 29 (T. Jordan, F. Wright, B. O’Sullivan, L. Moretti tries. J. Mood pen goal, 3 cons) def, Knox 21 ( L. Ireland 2, M. Horsley tries; L. Bosch 3 cons)
Waverely won 2nds, 3rds, 4ths and 16As.
Photos courtesy of https://www.facebook.com
by Rod Skellet
A much weakened Cranbrook team made the journey to Hornsby to face a revitalised Barker.
Cranbrook were missing NSW1 forward and captain Josh Kemeny, Harrison Stewart and Finnbar Stenmark, while Barker had elevated Year 10 lock Harry Flaherty from the 16As—and also had captain and prop Tim Anstey, who missed their Round 3 clash.
The opening exchanges were well-contested from both sides, with the game played within the 22-metre lines, and the attacking raids from both teams staunchly defended. The deadlock was broken when Cranbrook’s Oliver Bursten, swept aside a weak tackle to run 28 metre to score under the posts. With the conversion it was 7- nil.
Cranbrook struck again soon after the restart with winger George Gibson (11) scoring despite some some claims of obstruction. The try stood, and after 20 minutes it was 14-nil and Cranbrook were doing it easy.
Despite the scoreline Barker was still in the contest. After an attacking lineout earned from a penalty kick after the restart, Barker drove a maul and feisty young hooker feisty Matt Coghill scored. The sideline conversion hit the post but Barker were on the board. Cranbrook 14-5.
Anstey fired up the Reds and after a turnover by no. 8 Hugh Melchior, Barker put together their best play in two years. Driving forward through more than 25 phases Barker tested the Cranbrook line and eventually skipper Anstey crashed over and scored a deserving try. The conversion was good and Barker was within two points, and Cranbrook’s sting was gone.
Half-time score: Cranbrook 14 – Barker 12
But Cranbrook knuckled down after the break and some sweeping backline moves well-orchestrated by Searle (10) and Renton (15) put the Cranbrook forwards in the red zone. Some solid pick-and-drives notably from Chirnside (1) and Matters (8) got Cranbrook within five metres of Barkers line. After the ball was controlled nicely at the back of the ruck Harry Doyle (9) spotted a hole and dived over. The conversion was wide and Cranbrook led 19-12.
But the match looked even and another pilfer by Barker’s Melchior put the Reds on attack. Barker’s poor ball retention had dogged them all season but this time they held onto the pill and after some brutal front on assaults, Luke Reimer (6) was over the chalk. The conversion went wide again but at three tries apiece Cranbrook just had their noses in front 19-17.
The game see-sawed. Cranbrook responded with some slick backline work resulting in Renton (15) strolling over untouched. Another conversion missed: Cranbrook 24-17.
Barker returned serve with another solid series of pick-and-drives resulting in Flaherty (4) getting his debut meat pie in the seniors. Cranbrook led 24-22 but with ten minutes left on the clock there was lots of time for Barker.
But Barker failed to clear the ball from their 22 properly soon after the restart and Cranbrook got a penalty into the bargain. After the resulting lineout the ball was moved to Cranbrook’s 13 Mitch Dickens, who scored the final try. Searle clinched the win with his conversion which put Cranbrook more than a converted try in front.
Barker never gave up and a last-ditch attacking move was foiled after an awkward speculative wide ball could not be handled, with the line wide open.
Final score: Cranbrook 31 – Barker 22
In their final home game of the season Barker showed they had improved dramatically from the earlier rounds. Their front row was dominant all day and the Reds’ backs got more room and opportunity through the good the work of halves Williams (9) and Van Woerkom 10, than they had before.
Cranbrook deserved the win with Searle and Renton having fine games and Burston and Matters providing enough starch in the forwards to keep the Brook in the winner’s circle.
Photos courtesy of Lachlan Skellet (aged 10) – thank you
There is no standard report on this game but “An Observer” kindly sent these bullet points:
– Trinity scored some good tries through their backs in the first half and seemed to create overlaps easily to lead 26-0 at half-time.
– But Aloys were unlucky not to get a penalty try in the first two minutes of the game when (from my vantage point), a player was held back with two hands from grounding the ball in-goal. No card was issued to Trinity, and the only sanction was a penalty awarded against them.
– Well done Trinity for a deserved win at home.
Final score: Trinity 33 – Aloys 12.