Suburban Rugby regrouped after a two-week break due to ANZAC day celebrations and wet weather, with the big clash between Barker Old Boys and Forest at Turramurra Memorial Oval.
A solid contest characterised the day prior to first grade, a mixed bag of results as both uniforms showed promise for the rest of the season.
Both sides came at each other in the first grade from the first whistle, Forests outside centre, Damian Naughton chipping early for a dangerous break. But the ball was cleaned up easily by BOBs fullback, Hugh Doran and secured.
The BOBs returned the force, using their big props, Rawiri Taylor and Stuart Martin as well as second rowers Dave Robers and Thomas McGregor to maintain possession whilst grinding up the field. A penalty against Forest for offside in front of the posts was then slotted by fly-half Steven Hayter for early points.
Forest looked to stay in the game and stamp some authority back into the new game structure but strong defence shut down every attempt.
A well-placed kick let the Old Boys back, deep into Forest territory for a lineout. Winning the lineout and dominating a maul allowed for second rower Thomas McGregor to get over for the first try, in the corner.
As before, Forest look to sneak themselves back into a somewhat dominant position, halfback Blake Wyer, fly-half Ryan Butcher and inside centre Nicholas Wong running strong lines and linking up well but are nevertheless shut down by defence that wasn’t breaking. Forest attempts were repeatedly foiled by the referee, as he became relentless on ruck infringements, penalising the boys in green every time, and sending them back the extra 10 metres on any sign of dispute.
The BOBs used these penalties to gain metres before attempting another penalty goal. Steve Hayter slotted his second of the day, bringing the game to 11-0.
The restart seemed to be the ultimate turning point in what had already become a very one-sided game.
BOBs winger collected a deeply placed chip and chase soon off the kick-off, looking dangerous in Forest territory. But this attempt was quickly turned over and the ball cleared. Hugh Doran regained possession for BOBs off the clearance and used trickery and quick-witted ball-play to send the ball into the centre for number-eight, Scott England for a massive run through multiple tackles and a seemingly easy try under the posts.
Forest managed to hang on to some dignity off kick-off, attempting to apply some pressure through their big props Michael Conroy and Ben Cropper.
However, counterattack defence seemed to be a weak-point for them, as Hugh Doran was able to turn the ball over again which lead almost immediately to a quick break from inside centre, Mark Foster, down the wing. Cutting inside the defending fullback and then flicking back outside to winger, Harry Caulfield, another try was added to the scoreboard before halftime was called.
The score was now 25-0.
But yet again, the BOBs were able to turn play over, flanker Nick Jenkins stealing the ball in a ruck.
The BOBs forwards marched the Forest boys all the way back into their own danger zone before prop, Rawiri Taylor, was able to dive over the line.
Forest looked to be submitted at this stage, conceding more and more penalties, one of which was used for another successful shot at goal.
Forest invested all hope in halfback Blake Wyer and fullback Thomas Carruthers for their running skills but the intensity seemed to drop off from both teams as injury caused for a lot of stoppage and interchange of players.
BOBs grind down Forest again, mid-way through the half, getting close enough for another maul allowing second-rower Dave Roberts to get himself over for the try.
Forest aimed to squeeze any remaining life from the game, using inside centre Nicholas Wong, winger Josh Ogilvie and flanker Byron Gavin to smash the ball up the field. Utilising penalties, now going against the BOBs for offsides and ruck infringements, before spreading the ball wide to winger Sam Farahar, Forest were finally able to get over for their first points.
But it was too little, much too late.
Forest looked threatening again off the restart, regaining possession and ending up with a scrum five out from the BOBs try line. But Old Boy reserve halfback, Sam Monk showed some flash, stealing the ball before making a big break, getting play deep into the Forest danger zone straight off the restart.
Throwing forwards at the Forest’s weary defensive line before spinning it wide to winger, Harry Caulfield allowed for another try right before the end of the game.
The score ended up at 45-7, the Barker Old Boys winning at home.