Round 10 of the Barraclough cup for the Barker Old Boys welcomed the University of New South Wales’ teams to Turramurra Oval for a tough, hard-fought round of rugby.
Wet weather had meant the 4th and 3rd grades were cancelled, leaving only colts, 2nds and 1sts. Evenly matched games in the Colts and 2nds foreshadowed what was a very tight and exciting game in first grade.
Barker Old Boys colts had only managed to narrowly salvage a victory late in the second half, getting over 24-22 to the UNSW team.
In the second grade match UNSW had the honours beating BOBs 16-5.
So the first grade match was especially important to both sides looking for club honours.
The first half was fairly slow, kicking seemed to be common tactic of both teams, possibly hoping that the wet weather would force dropped ball.
Tight refereeing from the outset left the first half eight all, with a try from opposing wingers and penalties scored by both teams.
It wasn’t until late in the second half that the excitement built as both teams battled it out, displaying strength, skill and determination.
The beginning of the half was characterised by incessant kicking from both teams, the back and forth resembling more AFL than rugby. Every time either team tried to form some sort of attacking flow, the referee would find something wrong with ruck infringements and so the game was played in a stop-start fashion.
A converted penalty kick to UNSW brought the score up to 11-8. Another attempt as a product of more ruck infringements was missed, but the two attempts so close to each other were indicative of a needed change for the BOBs offensive.
The BOBs were able to push down the field and gain a penalty of their own, with the penalty goal slotted by Steven Hayter bringing the scores up to even.
More aerial ball was played thereafter, a back and forth kicking game building tension between each team. Offensive play was only really formed by the inside backs of each team as the wet was making it hard to push out any further.
The ball had remained in the middle of the field, recycled through both teams but neither able to make a solid line break. Another penalty almost 60 metres out from the posts was gained by UNSW to the dismay of a now pretty grumpy looking BOBs team.
The Barker Old Boys returned aggressively, running the ball strongly in the forwards with hard-hitting runs from Rawiri Taylor and Marty Donaldson.
It was clear that both sides were not going down easily as the last 10 minutes depicted some of the most surging offensive and defensive play of this season so far.
Finally, a break was made in play as Tom Hillard managed to gas his opposition. A penalty against UNSW for ruck infringements led to a line out 5 metres out with just over 2 minutes left.
The biggest line out of the game was won by the BOBs forwards which turned in to a massive maul, both teams pushing as if their lives depended on it. But UNSW managed to hold BOBs short of the try line.
Scott England in number 8 broke free from the back of the maul, and pushed over the try line to be held up by two UNSW forwards. Core strength and sheer determination enabled the strong loose forward to twist to his left and fall to the ground for the winning try.
Unconverted, the final score was 16-14 and the most exhilarating round of rugby was brought to an end.