Gather round all ye Oyster fans, friends and sponsors, we’re coming to you live from Euphoria Mountain, a high summit we won’t be descending from for weeks, maybe months to come. After a year of big wins, huge hits and more than a few barking Broncos from Coach Wiv, we’ve capped off our season with an Oyster win for the ages. So for one final time this year, we have a hell of a yarn to tell. Let’s spin it!
For many of our dear Oyster players, Grand Final week was a bit like losing your virginity. The moment was filled with apprehension, a dash of hungry lust and more than anything, a fear of the unknown. We were rocketing towards our fourth clash with Beecroft for the year, a team which we had famously come away from with mixed results. After getting spanked in our first outing at their suburban home, we’d managed to claw one back under the sails of Rushcutter Park at our infamous Oysters Old Boys Day. But only two weeks ago, in the Semi Final, we’d competed against the team in an old fashioned slobber knocker, and had come away with a loss and the need to beat Harlequins to make it any further.
Exhibit A: Flanker C.Baker on the charge with Oysters in support
Aware we were up against a formidable opponent, training this week at Lynne was straight and direct, without a sprinkle of bullshit. As we ran our greens, yellows and reds and wore our training kit for the final time of the year, a touch of melancholy could be felt in the air, as the Oyster boys realised our Wednesday night tradition of training and LBH beers would be wrapping up for the season.
Days out from the big dance, word had spread across the ex-Oyster alumni, that we’d need some extra inspiration to charge into the biggest game of the year. After putting out a call to the Oyster universe, the social team quickly became overwhelmed with a flood of good luck messages filmed overseas and sent back to The Reef via the magic powers of the internet. Footage came in from the beaches of Greece, the Colosseum in Rome and even the Himalayan mountains, as the Oyster boys who’ve decided to give their passports a workout in August sent through their best good luck shuck em’. The greatest club with the greatest old boys on earth? We believe so.
Grand Final Day arrived and the weather systems above Sydney decided they’d bless us with their very best. The sky was as blue as our jumper, the temperature warm as the spray of Deep Heat cologne and the air was sweet, as onions began to burn on the BBQ at Eric Tweedle. For any reader unable to attend our special day, Eric Tweedle can only be described as a suburban ground from heaven. Brand spanking new, it looked as if the concrete had only just finished setting on the plush rows of concrete seating that laddered high into the stands. With freshly painted locker rooms awaiting us, many of the Senior Oysters couldn’t help but dream of the day our club would own a facility such as thee. President Toby has reportedly already sent a an expression of interest to Rose Bay council, to knock down the sea plane carpark and begin construction of The Reef 2.0, a stadium suitable for home soil World Cup clashes in 2027. Stay tuned!
GAME WRITE UP
It’s that time of year again and we’ve done extremely well to play very consistent rugby to be able to progress through to this years Clarke Cup grand final against Beecroft. After a tough game last week, we where thrilled to hear back from Sydney Harlequins, that Lech was doing well after sustaining a neck injury the weekend before. This positive news, helped the oysties focus on the task of bringing home the Clarkey Cup to the reef.
The Oysties prepared well and with some slips in the warm up it was over to them to execute the plan, with one of the best pre game speeches by Angus McClelland, really trying to engage our three CCC’s to get the boys up and about. As the game commenced, the three C chat by Gussy probably got the boys a little bit too fired up and saw Beecroft score the first try and from there the momentum changed and the oysters ran away with three very nicely worked tries and a break away by Chris Baker to set up Lachy Argiris up for his second try in the space of ten minutes for the oysters to lead 17-7 running into a very stiff breeze in the first half. Then, all we can be said is there was a huge shift in momentum and some errors, which left all the supporters and coaches scratching their heads.
As we came up to the first half interval, Hugh Morgan decided to pull off one of the purest tackles to stop Beecroft from scoring, but this may have been deemed a little bit high and a little bit of a shoulder charge, which resulted on the Clarke Cup player of the year to take a rest for ten minutes and left the oysters down to fourteen players, which saw Beecroft score a try just before half time and two quick ones after half time to lead 33-17.
Regardless of the score, there was a clear sense on the field of calmness and ability to stick to the task, this saw the oysters pile on immense pressure and phase play, which saw them rewarded with a penalty try and well worked try to Hamish Lorang which saw the score become very tight at 33-31 with plenty of time remaining, this seesawing battle had more twist and turns to come and it was like a real life episode of days of our lives. As the oysters continued to march up the field and being meters away from scoring and taking the lead, Beecroft managed to turn the ball over and cleared this with a charge down, which took a very good bounce for Beecroft to streak away and score under the post.
The runaway try against the run of play and then a quick turn around penalty try to the oysters tighten this up once again with Beecroft managing to cop a yellow card and then managing to nail an absolute belter of a penalty from the sideline and into the wind, took the score to 43-38 with approximately 3minutes of injury time left.
Well, the up downs, the running, the contact, the resilience, the culture and determination to do it for those that can’t came through from the oysters in the last 3minutes. The oysters had the ball and where playing phase after phase and unfortunately made a mistake, with enough time to have a scrum left to play. In a series of sequence, it went – Scrum penalty win against the feed, quick tap, eleven phases with multiple efforts from all players, penalty, Jackson Garrels carry into quick ruck speed for Roy Harrison to pass it to Jackson Gilbey to score a try to level the game up.
Now – this moment, needs special comment and because of how well James Reid handle the pressure and got the job done for the oysters. 22m on the 15m, wind swirling, Beecroft hurling abuse, 3 steps back and 3 & a half to the left and with a shrug of the shoulders, head over the ball and nails it through the post, which saw the oysters win the Clarke Cup 45-43.
Exhibit E :The Iceman and winger J. Read lining up a conversion
With the Win, it capped off a great 2023 with Minor and Major Premierships.
Finally, we cannot thank everyone for all the support, we as a coaching group have said that it takes a village to make memories and starting in no particular order, we’d like to call out a couple of people, Dr Will Howard, all of the running room physiotherapists that helped us get through the season, the committee, family, friends, loved ones and most importantly all of the players, well done and thankyou.
As the sun began to set on the upper levels of Eric Tweedle Stadium, it felt like the earth briefly stopped turning on its axis, to allow the vibrant sun rays to shine down upon us in full force. Battered and bruised from the encounter with Beecroft, many an Oyster began to get on the front foot of their respective recovery with a few tins of golden ale. Soon the blasting sounds of Jennifer Lopez could be heard across Western Sydney as the hardest working piece of club equipment we own, the JBL speaker, began to play some club favourites.
Exhibit F: #8 L. Argiris breaking the Beecroft line late in the match
Joined by our faithful Oyster supporters, friends, family, ex-players and Brett the bus driver, we stood and applauded as Club Captain Hugh “Detention Master” Morgan was awarded the Best Player on ground. Of course he also walked away with the latest trophy to adorn the Oyster cabinet, the Clark Cup, which would soon become a favourite drinking vessel of the team as the celebrations kicked on long into the weekend. It didn’t take long before many Oysters began to realise the shine of the Clark Cup would look great on their own personal Tinder and Hinge (maybe even LinkedIn) profile, and soon the trophy became the most popular photo accessory for the evening.
With a cold esky of Tooheys and Beach Clubs waiting for us on the bus, the locker room celebrations were short lived, bar a few quick choruses of Shania Twain and Queen, belted out in the showers by those who played. And upon boarding the bus, it didn’t take long for us to instruct dear driver Brett there was only one place we wanted to go before landing at The Light Brigade Hotel. The maps were drawn up to take the P&O Cruiseliner to Sydney Harbour for our favourite photo opportunity of the season. Ohhh take me home! Take me home!
Exhibit G : The Oysters Celebrate a fairytale finish to season 2023
The Sydney Harbour Oysters would like to extend one last thanks to all of you, our Circular readers, for welcoming us into your inboxes every week. To all friends, family and our very dear Oyster sponsors, it’s been the most incredible year on The Reef, and we simply can’t do it without you. So cheers to another year shaking up the Sydney Rugby. Shuck em!
Again thank you yo our amazing sponsors who without your support this great club would not be possible!