Aaaah Sydney! It’s true your beauty lies on the shorelines of the harbour, nestled in the coves dotted around your many bays. For a city so pretty, so glittering, it can be easy to forget your few faults that lurk underneath. Such as your transport network. Your entangled web of disruptions and delayed trains and buses, which continue to work against the many Oysters attempting to travel to Bondi for training.
The 6pm dash to Baracluff continues to challenge all Oysters, even those that live in Bondi. For our readers that may happen to be standing on a platform at Redfern, Wynyard or Bondi Junction Station at approximately 5:44pm, and become bowled over by the blur of a fast footed commuter, it’s most likely you’ve come across an Oyster sprinting to get to Baracluff for the 6pm kick off for Oyster touch. You see us Oysters come from all walks of professions, it could be said that we represent the true breadth of Australia’s workforce. We have financial experts in the city, chalkboard dusting teachers from the North, Accountants working from home and even our homeless Irishman Tommy who takes his Bisley work shirt and toolbag of trade skills all across Sydney. And would you like to know what we all have in common? We’ve all torn a hamstring trying to sprint down New South Head Rd in time for training.
Exhibit A: Oysters ready for a contest at the scrum
But this week we all ran extra fast, such was our disposition to gather in the face of a former foe, Redfield College. We have an official council of historians who continue to write the chapters of the Oyster history books, but they’ve all been instructed to forget one fateful day in our 2021 season. For those 80 minutes of Rugby are much like Voldemort, “it is the game that ye shall not be named…”
Aware of the weight of revenge that sat upon our shoulders, it was clear this week that every Oyster was willing to tackle the bags a little harder, sprint a little faster and put their brain into overdrive as we concosted our extensive list of backline plays and line-out manoeuvres that we would trot onto the park for this week’s game against the old enemy. There was no laughing. No giggling. And certainly no fun this week, for we had a treacherous sea to cross, and the headwinds were already brewing.
After an adventurous bus trip, the Oysters arrived at Redfield College a little bewildered at the smoke signals that were being sent out by the residents of Dural. Whatever the smoke signals were, it really fired the Redfield Old Boys up, ready to rip in from the first whistle. To the credit of the opposition, they played a pressuring attack throughout the first half and with a fired up crowd, it spurred them on to really go after the Oysters at the breakdown. We had minimal opportunities in the first half, as Redfield disturbed our ruck and subsequently our structure. We were our own worst enemy in some respects, as a number of unforced errors, poor decisions in attack and defence and continued lack of structure frustrated us. The Redfield team took advantage of the Oysters errors and lead at half time 10-0.
Exhibit C: Said Smoke Signals
Half time couldn’t have quick enough for the Oysters and those smoke signals were coming thick and fast from the neighbouring residents applauding the Redfield side. After a little bit of a hint, hint, nudge, nudge from the coaching team, the Oysters were suddenly up and about ready for the second half.
There was a clear intensity shift from the Oysters as the second half got underway, with Nick Stubbs providing some energy and intensity to the game. Stubbs’ barnstorming runs and bruising defence spurred the Oysters side to produce the first points of the half, and from there it was clear we were running with greater intent in attack and vigour in defence. The Redfield side managed to play a spoiling type of rugby that stifled some of the Oysters advantage, which caught the ire of the man in the middle, however quick thinking from Roy Harrison saw the Oysters sneak over quickly for two tries after penalties close to the Redfield line.
Exhibit E: Centre N.Stubbs storming through the midfield
The bench only heard Tom Taylor saying “coach, I think we need to do more fitness at training”, when the oysters went over for their third try in the half with about ten minutes to go. This comment must’ve somehow made its way out to the boys on the field, and to the bench (and mainly Tommy’s surprise) the Oysters ran in three tries following this comment up until full time. The Oysters managed to continue to get over the advantage line in attack and had continued phase play that pleased the onlooking fans from Redfield, so much so that they took the time whilst their side was standing waiting for Sam Wood to slot conversations to learn the Oysters players name, kudos to these supporters!
Onto next week, Ladies day at the reef.
In reflecting upon the game, many wondered why the many Dukes of Dural hadn’t let their fine Dorpers graze upon the thick canopy of the field prior to kick off. It may have allowed many of the team to get out of third gear. But alas, with the big win it meant a BIG BUS. And first pit stop on the Bus was at The Duke, ably led by Charles Le Clerc - it was great to see such a worldy man have such a keen eye for suburban rugby. The Duke was an establishment fit for its namesake, with a lovingly appointed bar and dining area adjoined by a smoking courtyard that Mr Benson or Mr Hedges would’ve been proud of. An array of tables, televisions and an outdoor TAB machine, was complemented by an LED colour read-out of race results and an array of China’s nicotine related scents.
Exhibit F: C.Le Clerc (Red hat) gaining some insights on peak performance from coach J.Wivell
Hey did we mention we won the boat race? It was our 2nd victory ever, something that needs work. A big thank you to Droop who knocked back his Tooheys in one fell swoop. And a big thankyou to the hospitality of the Robbies, “Booger” was somewhat of a wordsmith and made a rather eloquent speech, and the pub grub rivalled that of our beloved LBH. Now, with a tank full of gas and tyres warmed up - the BIG BUS began….
There was an air of anticipation as the Oysties strolled through the carpark and back on to our chariot of the motorways. We were joined by two debutants: Peter, our new bus driver and also rookie Dimitri, who made his first appearance on the Oyster Plan B. The boombox was charged, the whistles were wet, and our hearts were full as we descended down and out of the Hills District and into Sydney’s North Shore. Peter’s driving was smooth and confident for the most part, until Mr LeClerc got in his ear and told him to test the brakes near North Sydney Oval, sending an unsuspecting Team Manager hurtling down a row of chairs. The other debutant Dimi shone in his first outing, a solo on a particular Fountains of Wayne track will go down in folklore.
Exhibit G: Flanker S.Brennan with all eyes for the gap in the line
The Oyster men joined in an array of ‘The Reef’s Greatest Hits’ - highlighted by a rousing rendition of an old classic reimagined by skipper and resident wordsmith, Gus McClelland. ‘Take me home Country Roads’ never sounded so bloody good, as we traversed the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge, and back into our home reef. A wonderful trip to cap off one of the best days in club history. We can’t wait to do it all again this week.
Exhibit H: Hooker H.Morgan Ices the match with the final try
UP NEXT - LADIES DAY!
This Saturday is our long awaited PEARLS' DAY. Don't let the weather deter you the venue is weather friendly and there will be ample Beach Clubs on offer to transport you to warm summer vibes. Be sure to dress to impress with a $500 David Jones voucher on offer courtesy of Delaney Lawyers with many more prizes on the day.
Exhibit I: PEARLS' DAY
Tickets Click HERE
Just wanted to say a huge thankyou to Ian Stubbs for the photographs once again which make the circular what it is each week. Your time and help behind the lens is greatly appreciated.
As always thank you to our great sponsors. Your support allows this club to run and thrive!