When the temperature drops below 10 and pubs begin to serve mulled wine, it’s a true sign that we’ve finally made it to our club’s biggest nightmare. A cold July Winter. It’s long been said that as a Team, the Oysties greatest enemy is the promise of a warm European Summer. Thus the great winter exodus begins. For when the Saturday streets of Sydney become empty and umbrellas crowd the inside doors of many local establishments, the sea conch begins to call many of our players to migrate to warmer waters, to beaches across Greece, Spain and Portugal. Such is the enthusiasm for many to escape the cold chill of Sydney in July, Senior Oysters officials have reportedly begun constructing a plan for a joint operation with Australian Border Force and Australian Airport Security, to deny Oysters passport entry to any number of Qantas lounges bound for the northern hemisphere. Who would honestly prefer a jug of sangria on the pristine sands of Koukounaries Beach in Greece, when there is an opportunity to board Sydney’s most mechanically unsuitable bus on route to the flooded Hawkesbury River! For those left behind, onwards we march!
But that is not the only obstacle Oysters management face as we trudge through the tough month of July. It seems Pearls Day was a little too successful for some, after rumours from the Paddington social scene have reported a record number of tables being booked across the week, as Oysters wined and dined new acquaintances we met at Ladies Day. In some instances, our dear friends at the Light Brigade have been BOOKED OUT, with Oysters requesting the finest table for two to share a Quattro Salami over a candlelit tablecloth. Love appears to move fast for some, as some Oysters have even been called away to Bucks weekends or Wedding Day festivities, leaving players left to ask, can the last one left please stay behind the pack the scrum! It appears Oysters both young and old have many social commitments in July, and so we’d like to this week give a special nod to those turning up week after week, the most lavish sea lounge on a Portuguese beach and a bucket of beach clubs shall await you in heaven!
As La Nina continued to disrupt our week, preparations were thrown in disarray for all teams across the competition. Thankfully, a number of Oysters dedicated their Thursday night to a training session pounding the pavement at Centennial Park before devouring a delicious Schnitzel, chips and gravy at the Light Brigade Hotel. Some might say, the latter being the optimum preparation for a big game against Mac Uni Warriors!
Game Day and the Oysters were moved from their traditional reef at Lyne to Woollahra Oval 3 to host Mac Uni Warriors. A coach’s dream occurred in the lead up with many of the Oysters pulling out due to injury, sickness, unfortunate flight delays and heading to the Wallabies Test. Disruptions were so bold, that it put Sam Wood off so much that he forgot to bring his kit, even though late changes meant that he had been called up to the starting side. However as The Oysters do, we adapted and overcame the challenges at hand.
The Oysters were ready to go. The first half started with a bang, the Oysters played some great phase play and were right on the attack, with the narrow field making it hard for our flyers to take advantage. After a number of phases on the Mac Uni line, silky Sam Brennan slipped over scoring the first try. There was some back and forth with Mac Uni who put on some monster hits and played high tempo phase play. However after a quick turnover, the Oysters played through the middle, then went wide where Roy Harrison was hit high leading to a penalty. This was placed into touch with a crispy lineout, that was then swung out wide with Hamish Lorang fighting off two defenders to go over for the second try.
The Oysters continued to apply pressure in attack in the first half and there was a neat kick put through the defensive line by Dimitri Tremopoulos, which was chased down by the Oysters and pressure was applied to the Mac Uni side, which came up with a wayward kick into the arms of Hugh Morgan, who managed to dish this off to Tom Mencinsky, who enabled Hamish Lorang to go over in the corner untouched. After the third missed conversation of the half by generally our best goal kicker at the Oysters (Sam Wood), it was time that the coaching team realized that the late call up may be to blame and vital pre-game practice kicks were missed, for that we apologise Sam.
In the lead up to half time, Mac Uni managed to play some very damaging football, where they caught the Oysters off guard with a number of kicks, which they regathered and managed to score a try just before half-time. A full credit to the Mac Uni Warriors who applied significant pressure to the Oysters right up until the half-time whistle.
As the second half begun, the Mac Uni side were up and about, it was a consistent arm wrestle for the first twenty minutes until the Oysters broke the deadlock with a strong scrum ten metres out and an even better run from Roy Harrison, setting up a nice scoot over the line by Tommy Ridhalgh. After echo’s where heard from the sideline about how good would it be to see the Oysters maul, the Oyster created a great set up and drive only to be called back unceremoniously with a dubious call that no one engaged from the Mac Uni side. The final try was scored by Angus McClelland after the Mac Uni side called not to engage in the maul. It saw Angus simply dive over from five metres out, something that Jumping Jai Taurima would’ve been proud of.
Huge credit to Mac Uni Warriors for the game and adapting to the change of venue, goodluck for the rest of the year.
Oysters, onto Hawkesbury Ag. Big Bus. Big Wiv