Paul McLean (56)
China's 1st Grade Report
By Bruce "China" Lin
University got back to their winning groove with a come from behind 43-29 victory over the Manly Marlins last Saturday at Manly Oval.
For so many years a graveyard for visiting University teams, the Students with some added Waratahs dominated Manly’s pack which ultimately provided the cutting edge.
But the game started in favour of Manly when they came out with all guns blazing. Attacking inside the University quarter the ball was swung wide towards the seaside for their winger to scorch down the sideline to score in the corner. However University gained parity with fullback Roberts kicking two quick penalties for a slender lead of 6-5 midway through the half.
You could sense that Manly were using their quick outside backs to outplay the disciplined University . That came when a University ball was fumbled along the western flank. The Manly winger B.J. Hartmann - B.J. an acronym for ‘By Jingo’ swooped on the ball and raced down field without a hand touching him to score a converted try.
Stung by this, University grafted their way downfield. Pressing inside the Marlins five metre area University were fiercely recycling the ball. A short ball was received by retuning Waratah prop big Paddy Ryan who crashed over near the uprights. The conversion saw University with a slender lead of 13-12.
There must have been a game plan to catch University napping at any opportunity as the next Manly try had all the hallmarks of being just a bit audacious. The ball trickled over the western sideline for a Manly lineout. Before you could say- Lee Lin Chin and set a lineout, a quick throw was executed by Manly allowing a trailing player to race downfield for the easiest of tries. The tries were now flowing freely after University fullback Angus Roberts scored in the eastern corner following quick backline passing. At 19-18 Manly were just hanging on at the half time break.
The commencement of the second half was a mirror image of the first as Manly tried to assume the ascendancy. A chip by their five eighth Lane saw a supporting forward regather and literally crash into the upright to score a converted try. A penalty soon after propelled Manly’s lead to 29-18. A hard task to peg back at Manly Oval? Not in the eyes of the Students as a period of disciplined play took place.
University managed to set a scrum five metres from the Manly line. University’s eight packed with iron, protein and Will Skelton commenced to backpedal the Marlins scrum. The monstrous shove was trying to put the Marlins into the Manly Aquarium at West Esplanade. University halfback Jake Gordon took full advantage to run from the scrum base and score an easy try. Roberts playing with great control now made the extra man in the backline and regathered a chip to once again score. University had regained the lead with a score line of 30-29.
The introduction of some fresh reserves gave added venom to University’s attack. Backrower Brad Wilkin on club debut showed why he is a Waratah squad member with some excellent ball turnovers and backing up when he was introduced.
But the potency of the University scrum could not be withheld from public viewing for too much longer with the final try. Some ferocious play by the Students saw them pack a five metre scrum. The University scrum slowly commenced to trample over a tiring Marlins pack for Jake Gordon to score his double. University had effectively caught, filleted and battered the Marlins pack!
A few extra penalties gave the Students a further lead of 43-29 to see out the game. A particularly satisfying victory silencing University Captain Tom Carter’s ‘friends’ perched on the grassy knoll who transitioned from cacophonous to mute in record time!
After last week’s narrow loss the smiles were all round the University huddle after the game. Jake Gordon attributed the win to “Tuesday & Thursday’s hard work paid off.” Coach Tim Davidson had a belief, “We worked hard and just believed in ourselves and didn’t shirk it.”
Next week University are back at home on the annual Services/White Ribbon Day versus West Harbour where there will be some NSW Constabulary mingling at the ground.
Was going to say nice fair write up - but then salt gets rubbed into the wounds with reference to the Sir Roden Cutler.
I hear the colts was also alot closer than the score board and people expected.