Experience and physical size prove to be the crucial factor in aiding the St. Pius Old Boys team, Brothers, to sneak a win past the Barker Old Boys First XV.
After a dominant display from the Bobs colts, winning 22-13, and Brothers getting on top of an unprepared second grade team and winning 6-21, it was clear that both teams were going to be very evenly matched in the final game.
The initial kick off came just short of the 10-metre line and so play was bought back to the first of many scrums throughout the day, on the halfway.
A scintillating break down the right wing by Chris Hickey pushed the Bobs inside the Brothers 22. A high-tackle was called against Brothers as the offensive pressure became too much, bobs capitalising early with a resulting penalty goal.
As had been the case all day in the other grades, Brothers had an unprecedented forward solidarity that enabled them to push their way up the field throughout the whole game.
But the first grade team was not taking the pressure lying down and strong forward movements and playmakers Steve Hayter in 10 and Hugh Doran in 15 were able to finally get the ball clear of their 22.
Another penalty attempt on counter attack left the Brothers with the ability to clear the ball from a 22-metre dropout.
Not a worry for the boys in red and blue, however, as the ball was turned over in a decisive steal from a ruck, leading to Dave Roberts scoring under the posts.
The Brothers returned, diligent in nature, the agile hooker showing his skill with a break up the centre of the field. A scrum on bobs 5 metre line was the product.
Some very fancy line breaks occurred after the Brothers scrum was turned over, Tom Williamson showing speed and acceleration on the left wing.
The much older and larger Brothers team applied relentless forward pressure letting them remain in the Bobs half for a large part of the half.
Very evenly matched, both teams ended up slugging it out, running their best at each others defensive line, neither of which were breaking easily. The Brothers fly-half, Stuart Raines, was seen to have a large impact on Brothers go-forward as he instigated the urgency that was needed to get the Brothers in for a try under the posts off a massive shove by the forwards.
10-7 was the score line at half time, both teams needing the rest after a highly physical first half.
Both teams returned to the field for what proved to be a very intense second-half.
The Barker old boys looked to be coordinating a strong attack for the beginning of the first half until a bone-clattering hit from the very large Brothers second-rower, Charlie O’Connor, diffused much of the intensity that was built up.
A similar slow push, metre by metre, predominantly in the forwards enabled Hayden Burns to capitalise to the left of the posts, the bobs fitness aiding them at the breakdown.
The Brothers were able to retaliate soon after, a massive Jone Tagivetaua charging over the line, his size and momentum crushing the tackle attempts.
Some handy turn-over ball by the Brothers open-side flanker, Craig Thomas, proved highly useful for a now much more succinct Brothers effort. They were on the way back from the first half where they had quite apparently been dominated.
Nick Webb was yellow carded at the break-down, as the referee needed to assert some dominance in a messy ruck formation that was becoming habitual for both teams.
A scrum 10 metres out from the Bobs try line put the old boys in a state of shock. “Pick up… Pick up now” was the only utterance made by the team as Martin Donaldson hoped to instil some confidence in a Bobs team which was starting to look weary.
The Barker Old Boys did well, holding their own with strong defence, but it was broken for the third time of the day as number 8, Tagivetaua, ripping the ball off the line out and charging over the line again.
The score was now 17-19 in the Brothers favour and tension was high.
Brothers returned almost immediately, pushing into the Bobs 22 using their forward power, as they had been doing all day.
22-20 was the score as the Bobs returned for the final 2 minutes of game play. The kick off sailed high and the receiver was brought to the hardened, dry oval ground with a hit led by Dave Roberts.
Tension was at its absolute climax as both teams were deteriorating, a minor scuffle breaking out on the floor of a ruck between opposing second rowers.
The final whistle was blown and the Barker old Boys looked shattered after a defeat in what was a very evenly set match.
Next weekend the Barker Old Boys will be hoping to return to usual strength and put on a show for ladies day.
$25 allows ladies into an exclusive ladies zone including complimentary champagne. It should prove to be a great day for all involved, so it’s a good idea to get down to Turramurra Memorial oval at some point during Saturday the 31st of May.