Gordon Colts Match Report V Sydney University
Saturday 5th May 2012
The picturesque setting at St Paul’s Oval was pure English green however the rugby was more trench warfare when top of the table Sydney University met challengers Gordon in what turned out to be a game of missed opportunity for the Highlanders.
Gordon’s starting team had been disrupted by the late withdrawal of inside center Henry Carmichael and lock Will Whyman through injury while in form breakaway Gordon Broome was missing after a call-up to reserve grade earlier in the week.
However the Highlanders came out full of running and aggression at the breakdown, controlling the play through strong, tight play and deft kick and chase exchanges. Territory was turned into points when Stephen Hayter opened his account with a penalty goal and shortly after, fullback Scott Purcell showed great dash by fielding a miss directed line kick by the students, breaking the first up defense before straitening and outpacing the cover to score a classic individualistic try. Hayter’s conversion put the Highlanders into the lead 10 – 0. This early lead was short-lived as Uni quickly gained their composure to rumble one of their trademark mauling tries off a well controlled lineout and then added another through a well organized back line play.
This Gordon team has great self-belief and immediately went back on attack and were soon rewarded with penalty points and a pick drive try to diminutive Alex Gregory after some well executed forward running and mauling. Gordon found themselves holding an unexpected 20 -12 lead in the shadows of half –time.
But there remained one last twist that turned out to be the decisive moment in the game. Defending deep in Uni territory the Highlander backs had shown great resolve in getting off the line and closing the space on their much-fancied opponents. Michael Dyason, who had been faultless all game got it all wrong and was shown a yellow card for lifting the legs in a tackle. As is the way with well drilled, composed and organized teams, Uni made Gordon pay, scoring off the ensuing penalty and adding two more tries after the break while Gordon struggled to come to terms with the defensive readjustment needed to counter the waves of Uni attack and the expansive wide play that exposed their flanks.
Once back to full strength, Gordon showed stoic resolve in matching up to Uni in defense while constantly demonstrating control of the ball and exciting phase rugby that had play moving north south from try line to try line. It was an epic battle with some high quality rugby being played by both teams. For Gordon, twins Matthew and Stephen Hayter were brilliant, while Nick Webb and Andrew Sears were tireless at the breakdown.
Gordon 20 (S Purcell, A. Gregory tries, S Hayter 2 pen. goals, 2 conv.) Sydney University 48