To our sponsors, parents, friends, supporters, coach, and players, after a week off the reef, we are blessed to be writing another edition of the Oysters Circular. These things are just getting easier and easier to whip up, given the content out there is endless: the Oyster anatomy, the ocean-related metaphors, speaking about our opposition in a sportsmanlike narrative tone…we really have found our groove. But we digress…let’s get on to the task at hand: providing biased commentary that aims to incite a bit of a giggle and a “sh”uckle (pun intended) whilst trying not to step on too many toes (GOD FORBID).
MINOR PREMIERS. Wait what did you say? You heard us correctly. What do you mean? What do YOU mean – we are MINOR PREMIERS BABY! That’s right, the buoys have taken out the Minor Premiership for the Jeffrey Cup, enjoying six straight consecutive wins and bathing in the sweet breast milk of victory so often that we’re pretty much all sick of it. No but seriously, why beat about the bush when you can just say it: “Minor Premiers in their Maiden Season”. We love how the “M” syllable just rolls off the tongue so delicately. Come on, say it with us: “Minor Premiers in their Maiden Season!” All jokes aside, it has not been a cruisy or easy journey to reach this point. Whilst we gloat jokingly, each of the buoys and supporters who comprise the Sydney Harbour Rugby Club have sacrificed hours and hours of their time to propel the Oysters into the community it is today. Therefore, please do not let the tone of our jest suggest we are getting complacent. In fact, this week we would like to encourage quite the opposite school of thought. We want to recommend to all our readers this week to please pause and contemplate the journey that has got us to this point, and to let the incredible progress we have made fuel the fire of desire to close off our inaugural season as the Division V Premiers. GOD BLESS THE OYSTERS!
Exhibit A: No Caption Required.
From the Committee
The Oysters had their final trip down to Sydney’s gorgeous southern lands, this time in sunny Engadine on an absolute cracker of a day. The buoys’ knowledge of the Engadinian Sea was limited, with most associating its choppy seas with modern folklore thanks to our current Prime Minister who has had to weather some pretty damning accusations surrounding his voyage to this fine suburb (whatever you do reader, please do not Google this. We really do not want you to get this joke). What we do know is that it’s in the Shire, a marine hunting ground that has become quite fruitful for Oysters. Whilst oysters typically feast on nitrogen-containing compounds, phosphates, plankton, detritus, bacteria and dissolved organic matter, this weekend demonstrated the versatility of the humble rock oyster in being able to also take down large game and oceanic megafauna.
Whilst adaptation was the Oyster’s biggest strength, it was definitely not an easy game to get used to. The first few minutes were akin to the British Fleet unleashing hellish cannon fire in the Battle of Trafalgar (1805; Spanish Coast). 14-0 after 8 minutes and it looked like the white flag was going to be hoisted, but this battle was far from over. The Engadine Lions, recognizing their potential fate, very soon unleashed the kraken in the form of some friggen’ SOIZE. We bet young Daniel Cheung didn’t expect to be consistently steamrolled by a pride of 120kg+ (this is just an educated guess, we’re not in the business of guessing people’s weight) lions. If you ever need to talk to someone Cheungy – we’re here for you. The Oysters quickly recognized that there would be no easy victory in the Lion’s Den…but we’ll leave it to Boonie to bore you with the details (we won).
NEWS FLASH! Did we mention that we were also playing in our jerseys? Check out the boys in the pink and blue in Exhibit [A] above, we look ready to rumble! Yes we did all choose to make our colours pink and blue based on a fair majority vote just like how important decisions would be made in a typical democratic institution. No we weren’t strong-armed by our scary skipper “Crazy Gus” (see Boonie’s yarn below for further detail). What’s that you ask? Geez…that’s a good question actually. The reason we’ve been wearing Newcastle Wanderers premiership jerseys instead of the blue and pink uniform is because the jerseys were delayed until this week (that’s 6 weeks by the way). Any guess as to who’s fault that was (it was CG if you can work out who that refers to – just don’t let him hear you say it). In any case, it’s water under the bridge because the jerseys are here, they’re a part of our identity and we’re damn proud to be wearing them.
We’ll hand it over to coach for this week’s edition of the Coach’s Corner.
“The Oysters were on the road again for round 6 of the Jeffrey Cup, venturing down to Old Bush Road Oval to try and tame the Engadine Lions. There was a good buzz around the group at training, with the colony excited to be back together after the week off. Furthermore, the arrival of the long awaited jerseys was a great surprise before kick off, providing extra motivation for the squad to rip in and secure the W in the new kit.
Exhibit B: Big thanks to Charles Collins for helping the buoys with his touch judging (both sides are thankful)
On a slanted ground, the Oysters were tasked with running uphill for the 1st half, despite this, you couldn't have asked for a better start. Seamus Frost made his presence felt from the get go, shrugging off tackles to slice through out-wide. He dished the pass right to Sam Moko Mako in support, who was dragged down close to the line by the opposition full back who scrambled really well in defence. Scrum-half Mack Bowman quickly turned and hit Lachy Argiris at pace who crossed over for the first try. The Oysters found themselves back on attack again not a minute later, with Harry Williams running a hard unders line to break through the defence in the middle of the field. The big fella was comfortable in space, biding his time well for the support to catch up and put us 5m away from the try line. Two phases later and it was again leading try-scorer Lachy Argiris who showed off his footwork en route to scoring our second try.
The red-hot start probably let some complacency creep in and we took our foot off the pedal. Trying to force passes in order to score quickly hurt us and we couldn't maintain possession. Engadine capitalized, placing a great kick into space behind us & their left winger, chasing hard, regathered possession before passing back inside to his full back who scored. A yellow card to our skipper Angus “Crazy Gus” McClelland certainly didn't help, and the big Engadine forwards were making plenty of metres attacking around the ruck. The Lions full back was particularly dangerous, getting two tries of his own, one was off a midfield scrum where he stepped his way around two defenders before darting under the posts to level the scores. The remainder of the half saw some scrappy play back and forth between both teams in the middle of the field. Harry Williams managed to extend the lead before the break with a quick pick & go close to the line, the score was 21-19.
Exhibit C: Nick Stubbs meeting his match.
We spoke at half time about improving our hunger & attitude in defence, as well as showing more patience with the ball in hand. We knew Engadine had plenty of confidence and we'd have to really fight to come out on top. The boys took this challenge on as we were pretty quickly pinned inside our own half. The Oysters were not making friends with the referee and constantly found themselves on the receiving end of penalties. WIth a yellow card warning given, we battened down the hatches and kept our cool. I was very impressed with the way the boys kept muscling up against some big & powerful carries from the Engadine pack. Nick Findlay, Daniel Cheung & Nick Peper always had their bodies on the line and ensured the line went unbreached. A reliving penalty saw the Oysters march their way back down in Engadine territory. Some good phase play led to Angus McClelland crossing over untouched after receiving a delicate 'tip-on' from Harry Williams close to the line. Determined not to let the momentum go, the Oysters started to string together lots of attacking raids. Nick Findlay made a line break and was close to putting Daniel Cheung away under the posts before a desperate tackle stopped him short. The ball was recycled quickly and spun left to Seb Gould who finished strongly in the corner. The boys were much more clinical in the 2nd half, taking their opportunities and converting them into points. Harri Greville was also looking to change the angle in attack, and after running a switch he found himself in space running towards the posts. He found his support man in Seamus Frost who crossed over and then sealed the win with another try of his own before the final whistle.
Exhibit D: Seamus Frost looking for space, with Oli ‘The Hoff’ Hassall & Harri ‘Grev’ Greville ready to link up.
All in all it was a very physical game and a good test for the Oysters. Full credit to Engadine who pressured us all day and scored some cracking tries of their own. It was pleasing to see us face plenty of adversity but still rally behind each other and grind out a convincing win in the end. A special shout out to Sam Wood at number 10 who copped plenty of flying shoulders whilst attacking the line. He never made a fuss of it, was always straight back on his feet and controlled the game well. The Oysters look to finish the regular season undefeated at our last home game at Rushcutters Bay this weekend.”
- Louis Biscoe a.k.a “Coach Boone”
The Minor Premiership. It’s our biggest achievement since the Neptune Cup (Oysters vs Sea Lice) and it is dedicated to our sponsors who have helped us get here. We’ve had the blessing of jerseys, training tops, shorts, balls, cones and tackle pads and we are very thankful for all of this gear. As we keep building and moving to the business end of the season need to keep reminding ourselves that we owe it to ourselves, but also to those who have shown faith in us, our sponsors, to get the job done. We hope that these weekly updates have some sort of informative and humorous element. With our last game at Rushcutters this upcoming weekend, we hope to have as many sponsors in attendance all whilst complying with the COVID-19 requirements.
Peper’s Pie Reviews:
In order to avoid becoming stale, we have reached out to a special guest. This particular Oyster has built a lifelong career out of his passion for pies and has become quite a phenomenon on Instagram (@squidpeperfitness). So, without further ado, we will take this opportunity to inject some freshly shucked enthusiasm into the Circular:
“It wasn’t like most other Saturdays. The boys were well rested and hungry for blood. The call of the sea was loud this morning, a 4-foot south swell was running against the reef. This tends to make other oysters nervous…but not this oyster… this oyster grew restless.
Cruising through the streets of Bondi Junction, something caught my eye...the lamb and rosemary pie from the Cook & Baker. Now, I don’t want to knock the heroic bakers of Sydney’s Western and Southern suburbs, but I simply cannot see them competing with temple that is Cook & Baker. Let me tell you a thing or two about the lamb and rosemary pie through an extended metaphor regarding Saturday’s game (classic content!
Exhibit E: Cook & Baker ‘Lamb & Rosemary Pie’ @ 10:28 am Saturday 29th August 2020.
Arriving at Engadine took me back to my first bite of this glorious pastry, the excitement of knowing something truly great was to come. The filling was as exciting as the match itself, however at no point was I worried it wasn’t a winner. Just as the minor premiership was a cherry on top, the noble baker offered me his house made tomato chutney. He takes pride in his business just as oyster men do.
Long live pies, long live the buoys and long live the minor premiers!”
- Nick Peper – Hooker for the Oysters.
Exhibit F: Who Won Today?... OYSTERS!!! – Play that on repeat (6 times).
Exhibit G: Keep building that MOMENTUM
Exhibit H: Final Home Game of the season… Be There (Covid-19 Compliant of course).
Around the Ground – Presented by Punt Hub
“G’day punters, Mark from Punt Hub here.
It was so good to see the rugby back on the park this week, and another win for the oysters means they have claimed the Jeffrey Cup minor premiership. Not since Winx won her 33rd race in a row have we paid out on such short odds for a streak to continue, with the bet “Angus McClelland to get a yellow in 2020” paying 1:05. Yes we have to go back to his days playing for Kings 13as to find last time Angus did not get sent from the field in a rugby season. Not great money, but as we say, better than a term deposit.
As this weekend was supposed to be ladies day the boys had ordered 300 oysters to be delivered. Unfortunately, the event has had to be cancelled but never one to let a few oysters go to waste, club Treasurer has agreed to have a crack at Colin “The Oyster King” Shirlow’s record of 233 Oysters in 3 minutes, we have him paying 4/1 to break the 250 mark. Though with that many oysters on board it’s probably best that the ladies day has been cancelled.
Exhibit I: Sydney Harbour’s very own “Oyster King”.
With Kings Old boys coming to Rushcutters here’s our Multi of the week:
- First try in 0:00 to 7:59
- First try scorer to have attended Kings School
- Oysters to lead at half time
- Oysters to win boat race
Have a good week and happy punting.”
(Please note all bets above are for banter purposes and not real bets).
That’s half a dozen wins on the trot and a minor premiership on our path to the Jeffrey Cup. Not a bad start to the season but we must remember the job is nowhere near done.
As always have a fantastic week, go the Oysters, and above all, SHUCK ‘EM!
Sydney Harbour Rugby Club