CAS Final round match reports

CAS Final round match reports

Barker 45 — Knox 22


   by “Elfster”

The final game of the day was a rematch between the two North Shore rivals.

The game was in front of a large expectant crowd in lovely weather — the Barker fans to see their side gain consecutive championships and the Knox supporters hoping for an upset, replicating the final game of 2012.

The scoring

First half

The playing surface looked in good nick and the Barker side ran out with considerable support, and with the momentum of a good win in the 2nds that gave Barker the title there.

Knox crestThe game started with an intensity that matched the crowd’s expectations. Both sides starting play was exploratory, but with structure and an attacking intent.

Knox gained an early advantage in their forwards, attacking the Barker line, which resulted in a try to their no.8 Van Zyl, who emerged from a blancmange of bodies to barge over for a hard-worked short range try. Knox were up 5 – 0. They had come to play and an upset may be possible.

However thoughts of an upset soon proved to be illusionary as Barker’s Jones 15 put on a rugby masterclass . Showing speed, power, anticipation and combination he put on 17 points in even time.

The Barker forwards gave enough possession to their backs to show good passing and attack: an understanding of running rugby. Jones was either on the finishing end or seemingly did it all himself scoring two excellent tries. They also scored a penalty – though gifted with try scoring ability Barker would take easy points on offer. Smart rugby, and with Jones showing a capacity to kick goals from halfway, winning rugby.

Barker crestKnox played it to their strengths, in the forwards, and were rewarded with another unconverted try to their 8 Van Zyl. Their front row was making some good yardage, especially their hooker.

Their back line wasn’t as fluid as Barker’s. Their ball from the rucks and mauls was too slow, allowing the Barker backs time to stifle their attack. And they this did well, with good line speed and making their tackles.

It was a great spectacle because both sides were playing well. Jones showed that he was a team player, by finally letting another of his team join the scoring with 10. Smerdon getting a good try late in the first half.  Half-time score: Barker 22 – Knox 10

Second half

In many ways it replicated the first half, except that tut the Knox backs started getting useful ball and making ground.

Barker continued playing with considerable aplomb and showed sublime balls skills to put Stoltz 12 over.

Barker capitalized on errors and their tactical kicking much better than Knox. The tactical kicking of Knox was woeful except that from the Barker perspective it was quite good, for them.

Jones & Davis

Jones + Davis = try in corner

On a regular basis the Knox kicking would merely set-up one of the Barker back three for a merry raid. The Knox defensive structure also fell away and Barker exploited these lapses.

The fitness disparity of the teams looked significant. Barker could increase their intensity almost at will, whereas Knox could dominate for periods then fall away. That said, they started running the ball more effectively and in one passage of play the Knox 13 C Watson scored a good long distance try.

Smerdon took a cheeky field goal, and then another Jones break had Davis 11 in the corner. Barker up 44 – 17, but Knox showed considerable spirit, using their forwards well and a nice dart from Stirzaker 9 saw Price 11 score. This followed another brief flurry by Knox and Price almost scored another try right at the end, somehow being cut down by the Barker defence after a great run.

The final score Barker 45 – 22.

The Players

Harry makes amends

Star Harry Jones (for NSW)

Barker – The backline was impressive, showing skillful combination. Jones was the standout, but there was also much good work by the centres Stoltz and Dove. The Barker backline is rightly credited with great attacking prowess, but their defensive work is also important.

The forwards are a good unit. Though never totally dominant, rarely did their relative weakness turn to into a strength for the opposition.

Knox – The standouts were Watson 13 who looked dangerous in both attack and defence. His try was a good one. L Price had a good game and could use his power and strength to good effect. He was unlucky not to score two tries.

The 8 Van Zyl was rewarded with his good work by two tries. The number 2 L Scott was noticeable with his effective work around the field. The Knox forwards were often stronger, but couldn’t maintain their dominance continuously.


This Barker side could be described as a champion side and a side with some champions. But tellingly they are fit, well drilled, cohesive and confident in the manner of their play.

The Knox side is a side that developed throughout their season – it may be a season too early for them. But though they play with heart, resolution and suggestions of brilliance, they also seem distracted and lack the capacity to play consistently and have dangerous lapses in their play.

Despite the result Knox played well, but Barker were just better. It was a great game to watch because it is good to see a well drilled side play positively, which is one of the great things about schoolboy rugby.

Congratulations to Barker on winning the Plume Shield.

Scoring details

David Smerdon

David Smerdon – try scorer

Barker — 45

Tries: H Jones (2), D Smerdon, T Davis, D Stoltz — Conversions: H Jones (4) — Penalty goals: H Jones (2) —Field goal: D Smerdon.

Knox —22

Tries: B Van Zyl (2), C Watson, L Price — Conversion: S Field.




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Snort played some undistinguished Rugby at school in Sydney before playing some undistinguished Rugby for Sydney University and a bit more undistinguished Rugby in England. It is a fair summary to say that his career as a player was undistinguished.

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