As you pry open your emails today and take a look around the vast digital wasteland of junk mail, spam requests and “Rent Overdue” notices clogging up your screen, doesn’t it feel nice to click through this link and read about your favourite Rugby club! The season is back and so is The Circular, so polish your reading glasses and give your mouse a squirt of WD-40, we’ve got one hell of a week to review.
We’re charging into the 4th season of the Oysters legacy (3.5 if you wish us to acknowledge “the season that shall not be named” *cough*cough*) and just like the Western Harbour tunnel that’s keeping a few of the Oysters employed, we continue to build. Now it appears our under the table payments to a small internet startup called “Google” continues to pay dividends, as our internet SEO continues to syphon lost souls keen to play rugby into our illustrious Harbour Club.
I have it on good authority from Border Control that those that land at Sydney airport and instantly Google “Sydney - Rugby Club - Where Can I Play” are fed into this very website, and as such we have some new international faces in our club which we’d like to give a shout to this week.
We’ve somehow found ourselves Brian To’o from France (JB), a barnstorming Canadian running back come centre (Byron), a Kiwi with an accent that melts butter (Gaz) and Greg from Perth, which I know technically isn't an international signing but a year ago we all needed a passport to enter Western Australia so we’re counting Greg as a signing that required some greasy handshakes and ASIO to look the other way.
Now our new bright faces are blending seamlessly into the club, and let’s be honest, what's not to love? As the sun sets on Oyster touch on a Wednesday at Lyne Park, and the beer taps begin to pour at the LBH straight after, I believe many of our new Oysties are thanking the sea gods that they’ve finally found rugby Nirvana. And they haven’t even had the joy of jumping on the P&O Cruiseliner yet and taking a big bus trip, Oyster style!
But after putting our new recruits to task under wet, blustery conditions the past two game days, on Saturday the sea Gods opened the heavens and treated our club to the bluest, most beautiful day for harbourside rugby. The grass at Lyne Park was green, the sun was shining and the only grim face within a 100 metre vicinity of The Reef were the 93 individuals that picked up a parking ticket from the world’s most ruthless council inspectors. A reminder to all spectators and players, pay for parking or the sharks will get ya!
Exhibit A: The home reef in all its glory
Match Report: R2 v Harlequins
Round 2 of the 2023 Clark Cup season saw the Oystermen play the Sydney Harlequins for the first time. Playing sides for the first time ever is usually quite the novelty for a rugby club, however for the Oysters it is part and parcel of our meteoric rise through the Australian rugby landscape. Nevertheless, it always presents an interesting and new challenge when we front up against a side we haven’t had a chance to go toe-to-toe with.
The first half was an absolute battle, with the Harlequins proving to be a strong side up front with good physical presence and the rugby ability to match. The Oyster boys were confronted with long phase play, direct running and an ability to shift wide on the occasion - coupled with tenacious defence and ruck-play. As far as arm-wrestles go, we were in a big one.
Commendably, our forwards stayed in the fight through the first 35 minutes and our backs made smart, swift decisions in defence to keep the Quins off our own line. There were many opportunities for us to be lazy, put our heads down and concede a cheap try or two - however this is not the Oyster way! We dug deep, and eventually managed to crawl our little mollusc shells towards the Quins line. On the stroke of halftime, and off a beautifully executed line-out, we exhausted the right side of the field. After a strong carry from George Hudd, a short pass out to a burrowing skipper Gus McClelland opened our account. After much deliberation and some confusion from our refereeing outfit, the conversion went over and the Oysters went into the half up 7 -0.
After what can only be described as one of the all time half-time breakdowns from Coach Wiv, the Oysters were looking to employ the K-I-S-S-O method (Keep It Simple Silly Oyster) to take charge of the game in the second stanza. And to that we did, with one of the most amazing starts to a half anyone ever witnessed.
Exhibit B: Coach Wiv with some help from assistant coach Zoe during the week. Luckily assistant Zoe was absent from the half time speech otherwise her friends at day care might have learnt some new words this week.
We launched at the Quins with a try off the kickoff, which featured:
- Strong carries from George ‘off the back fence’ Hudd and Tom Mencinsky
- Deft hands from skipper McClelland and Lach the Croc
- A delicate chip forward from James ‘I can’t believe it’s not Messi’ Read and,
- Fantastic backing up from halfback Roy Harrison and eventual try scorer Harry Tate
A team try for the ages!! But wait - we weren’t finished yet!
The following kick-off was all but a carbon copy with the ball again down the gullet of the Croc who offloaded to a rampaging George Hudd. The ball again went wide however this time to flying fullback Hamish Lorang who burned the Quins outside backs, stepped the fullback on the inside and ran around to score under the posts.
Blink and you’d have missed it - we were up 21 - 0 at the 42nd minute!
We consolidated our position as the game drew to a close, with some fantastic efforts from our bench including a wild, blood spattered cameo from new recruit Seffa and a solid return from injury from our resident terrier TT. 80 minute man Hugh Morgan had a fantastic day out - bagging a double and leading from hooker throughout.
The game ended 38 - 17 to the Oystermen. A fine afternoon of rugby and a great challenge from the Quins.
Thanks to all who came out and we are absolutely pumped for our next hit-out against Old Barker this weekend.
Nick Stace - Manager
Exhibit C: The Oysters getting into the swing of our team song post win
With our boots full of Tooheys, and legs a little sore, it was time to kick into the next stage of our night with a premium viewing experience at the Light Brigade Hotel. With more than half of the team boasting steel blood in our veins, the Oysties were keen to settle in to watch a game of the unspoken code, NRL. With Knights vs Panthers on one screen and the Waratahs on the other, Oysters were truly cross-eyed as we all attempted to watch both games simultaneously. You’ve never truly seen the human body’s ability to handle ambidexterity until you’ve watched an Oyster watch Nathan Cleary win Golden Point with the left eye, Harry Holmes pack a scrum in the right, drink a pint of Guinness with the left hand and carve up a schnitzel with a steak knife using the right. It’s pure poetry in motion and you can’t tell me the Oysters can’t multitask. And we have a lot of bloody good fun doing it.
Speaking of fun and the Light Brigade, please come and join us this ANZAC Day at the LBH where we will be running the two-up all afternoon. Come in Spinner!
SATURDAY 22ND APRIL: OYSTERS V OLD BARKER @ WOOLLAHRA NO. 1
TUESDAY 25TH APRIL: ANZAC DAY @ LIGHT BRIGADE HOTEL
SATURDAY 29th APRIL: BYE ROUND
Thank you again to our fantastic sponsors for season 2023