The Waratah Shield is reaching its final stages and the four semi-finalists met at Granville Park yesterday. Oakhill College (ISA) met Knox College (CAS), and St. Augustine’s College (ISA) played Marist College from the ACT.
For those who don’t know, the Waratah Shield is a knock out competition open to all schools from NSW and the ACT. Lower ranked teams play in the Waratah Cup, and the winner and runner-up enter the Waratah Shield for the quarter-finals.
Oakhill College 31 — Knox College 19
Knox got off to a horrible start when they tried to clear their line with short passes one of which went right into the hands of opposition lock Jacob Banford of Oakhill. After two mintues Oakhill led 7-0.
But Knox got into the Oakhill 22 and quick ball to to right found Oakhill short. The Knox fullback Sebastian Field scored in the corner to make the score 7-5 to Oakhill at eight minutes.
Play was even after that and the only other score in the first half was when Oakhill made a break in the middle of the field and as defenders scrambled, the ball went to the left and winger Cameron Daniels avoided the cover defence to score near the corner post.
At half-time Oakhill was ahead 12-5 but there wasn’t a lot in it.
After oranges winger Mitch Anderson went in for a nice try after doing a lot of the lead up work—and soon after impressive fullback Ben Cotton ran on the angle and dished out a bouncing ball. Reserve player Tribolet got the nod from the official scorers for the try and eleven minutes after the break Oakhill were in charge 24-5.
It was time for Knox to raise the white flag but they were made of sterner stuff and ten minutes later they started a comeback.
In a eight minute period they scored two converted tries when they caught Oakhill napping after they tap-kicked two penalties near the Oakhill line. Prop Nick Meyer trundled over for the first and no.8 Brett van Zyl for the second.
So, with about five minutes remaining after the restart Oakhill were still ahead but only by 24-19. Game on.
But Cotton spoiled the party for Knox when he intercepted a pass and ran under the posts to score.
Soon after the game ended and Oakhill had won 31-19 – but what might-have-been for Knox?
Knox did well to recover after a poor start but too often good opportunities fizzled out because of poor passing and catching. They needed more cohesion because they lacked the strike power that could concoct something out of not much. They also left their feet too often in the collisions and got pinged.
Oakhill were guilty of kicking away too much ball in the Knox half sometimes, and had their own problems in not taking opportunities. But they deserved their win because they controlled the game for longer periods than Knox did. Unlike their opponents, they did not throw any intercept passes which were scored from.
Knox — No. 8 Brett van Zyl played a hard game but needed a few more teammates to do the same. In the backs 13. Connor Watson was hard to handle and goal-kicking 12. Hamish Newby combined well with him when the midfield got some chances.
Oakhill — The Andersons represented their school and the family well. Oz Schools player Josh Anderson continued his good form from the Australian Championships and young brother Lachlan Anderson showed he was a promising backrower. Cousin Mitch Anderson was a real handful on the wing.
Others to shine were inside centre Matt Collins and mercurial fullback Ben Cotton, who scored the intercept try to put the result beyond doubt.
In hindsight the two intercepts at the beginning an end of the game were killers for Knox. The arithmetic said that Knox would have won 19-17 without them—but it is a nonsense to talk about such sliding doors in a rugby match.
Scoring details Oakhill 31 — [5 Tries; 2 conversions] Knox 19 — [3 Tries; 2 conversions]
Oakhill 31 — [5 Tries; 2 conversions]
Knox 19 — [3 Tries; 2 conversions]
Click on arrow for Page 2 and a report on St.Augustines v. Marist
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