Hello and welcome to Season 2023! Buckle up and brace yourself coz it’s gonna be one hell of a ride! Thanks for joining us for our first roll out of this year’s circular, we are back by popular demand. Despite modern day media’s censorship and cancel culture we have somehow made it through such a complex and popped out the other side, an effort likened to that of one Andy Dufresne outta Shawshank prison in 1994. Our writers were a little lacklustre and lazy last week so we have a LOT to report in this first installment. We know you are all busy Oyster supporters and have things to do and places to be, but as our ancient ancestral correspondent Cheung taught us, do not sacrifice words! There is no shortcut to life and there is certainly no shortcut to the Circular!
Prologue: Chasing Neptune and Fighting for Ferry
As I sit here and tap away I wonder what the hell you all did for circa 6 months without any Oyster rugby in your life? Whether a player, coach, committee member, supporter or other dwelling, how do we always survive such a grim existence with such a void for so long? Thankfully in Mid Feb the band got back together, at our birthplace and the home of Oysters rugby, Lyne Park in Rose Bay. There are nada pleasures in life greater than hopping on the Circular Quay ferry and hovering across to the Hatchery, taking in the iconic harbour features which make up our beloved emblem. As you arrive back on shore, the chatter of Oysters and the thump of foot to footy echoes around Rose Bay. Even the deaf old bats gobblin on their lobster mornay in Catalina can sense it, smell it and BREATHE it.
Anywho after much jubilation as our group was reunited to blow out the cobwebs and throw around the pigskin, we then had a very successful launch day at North Bondi RSL, one of the best venues to drink beer in the world! Thankyou for coming on board this year and we look forward to many more MJs (mega jugs).
Our only trial game of the year was a cracking day out against the old crustaceous foe, the ever itchy itchy Sea Lice from North Cronulla. But trial this was not! The Neptune Cup was yet again up for grabs! In proper true condition for the clash, Neptune and his powerful rain whipped around Woollahra No. 1 oval, as both teams stormed out onto the pitch. The Oystermen prevailed, once again wielding Netpune’s trident over the suburban rugby kingdom.
Exhibit B: The first silverware of the year: Neptune's mighty Trident
A couple of beers were enjoyed down at Easts Rugby club, including a bizarre come from behind win in the Boat Race, before we retired to the premier establishment in Beach Road, Bondi: BONDI BEACH RD! (more to come on this). Attention swiftly turned to Round One…
It was set to be an epic clash as we found ourselves scheduled in a GF rematch in Round 1 against formidable foes Manly Savers. Not only was the occasion large because of the opposition, but also because the Oysties would make their debut in Division 3 of the NSW Suburban Rugby competition.
With the Neptune Cup and a couple of productive, physical and fun training sessions under our belt we looked toward Round 1 as a challenge. We wanted to start off the season with a bang and cement ourselves in our new division.
Returning to Lyne Park as our home reef for training and games has many benefits including ample parking, facilities for storing our kit, bright lights, an (almost) full sized pitch, easy public transport options including a ferry stop, stunning vistas…but most importantly a return to our roots from 2020. There was a lot of 2020 about Round 1 this year. We welcomed many new players into our starting line-up, we had some players playing out of position (arguably), we had some small delays with our kit - it was all very nostalgic!
Playing in our white away strip - voted best kit in World Rugby three years running - the Oystermen marched out on a variable Saturday afternoon in Rose Bay. We started strongly, neatly organising in both attack and defence and very commendably for a team who had largely never played together. We even won our first scrum from a solid base after such a tough, hard and arduous pre-season on the scrum machine…
Exhibit C: Oystermen winning a scrum providnig halfback R.Harrison with clean ball
The directive from Coach Wivell during the week to ‘earn the right to go wide’ was employed immediately, Tom Mencinsky in particular leading the charge with strong, hard carries through the middle. This allowed our backline to organise accordingly, and after only a few minutes we were banging on the Savers line. A clearance that missed touch bounced into fullback Hamish Lorang’s hands just inside halfway. Setting the tone for his performance for the day, Hame managed to dip, duck, dip, dive and dodge his way through what seemed like half the Manly defence to open our account in the left hand corner. Gus McClleland, playing inside centre for the clash, converted to make it 7 -0 after 4 mins.
Exhibit D: Centre A.McClelland putting one through the posts from out wide
The rain then descended on Lyne Park, sweeping over the Harbour and ferry terminal and driving against the faces of players, officials and spectators alike. Our hardy shells were resilient and our little mollusc gills suckled at the precipitation as we piled on another three quick tries. The first through Auckland international Seb Gould aka “JAFFA” on the right wing, the second through French international JB Etienne aka “JB Hi-Fi” on the left wing and the third through the middle courtesy of Kiwi international Sam Eddington aka “We need to find him a nickname.”
26-0 to Oysties at the half.
Exhibit E: Number 8 Lach the Croc Argiris stalking his prey
Sensing that we were in control of the game, our men consolidated their position in the second half. A few points to mention as we wrapped up the game:
- Hamish Lorang was the best on ground, seemingly figuring out that he can beat any and all players with his speed and also agility with dynamic runs, smart offloads and strong support play.
- Our debutants handled the occasion with aplomb, in particular Sam Eddington at the fly-half position and JB You’ve Done it Again on the wing. Both were competent in attack and ruthless in defence.
- In trying conditions, our backline looked slick, composed and executed moves with highly adept handling.
- Our forwards continue to be warriors, running straight and hard and looking up for the challenge on our own line.
Final score for the day was Oysters 43 - Savers 19. The Ferry Cup stays on the south-side of the harbour.
Exhibit F : The Ferry Cup remains on the south side
A massive thank you to Savers who celebrated another clash with us at the Light Brigade Hotel.
We have a week off for Easter, before our next match away against Sydney Harlequins at Waterloo Oval. Can’t wait to share another season with you all. Let’s get it.
Nick Stace - Manager
Epilogue: Allez le Bondi Beach Rd, arise a new Hoges
Aaaah! The first sip of Tooheys after a big win and retaining the Ferry Cup, how sweet it was! Even sweeter the dulcet tones of the new Club Captains who led the choir in our team song in the sheds. Ranger answered the call for the encore and those slinky hips got to work for “lets get shucked.” Our debutants had contributed strongly on field and all played their part, yet it was their presence off the field which was yet to be seen. And as Sydney’s premier social rugby club, this factor/unknown is all important! Things started poorly, as our boat race got obliterated, each man chewing on their beer and really working it around the palette before telling us how many hops were in each sip. Now is not the time lads!! You need to suck it down!
Exhibit G: The backline getting wet & cold
I will take this opportunity to say we somehow won the boat race vs the ever itchy Sea Lice last week, how on earth did this happen? One of our new kiwi imports Gaz (aka Barracuda Buckman) unluckily copped a bad Oyster in his debut cocktail, a culinary delight for all new players. So he doth purge thee oyst out of his system, quite thee aggressively I must say. Shout out to Sean for chewing that oyster like he was at Tomorrowland on a 7 day musically oriented life changing experience where those inclined dabble in all that life throws at us. And a huge shots boi to the ref who was astute on and off the field, tipping a blue can down his gullet to kick off the boat race.
The Oyster enclave meandered down to LBH for post game festivities, joined by our foe on the field but good friends off it the Manly Savers. Thanks for joining us lads, hope you enjoyed your pub crawl and good luck for the season. And a special mention to one South American Saver who was practicing his tonsil hockey rather early on in the evening, kudos to you!
The sherbets were flowing, the Brumbies winning and the good times a-rolling. Our wounded warrior Tom Mencinsky returned looking even prettier than before, he had suffered a gash to his head and our crafty new meme Lord Hoges had put 2 and 2 together in all of 3 mins to create a lovely mural of Tommy.
Exhibit H: Flanker T.Mencinsky improving his already good looks
Before long our resident Frenchmen felt a shiver down his spine. After a lovely little ball back on the inside and a bone crunching hit that Chabal would’ve been proud of, he bellowed at the top of his lungs: “We play…Bondi Beach Rd!” And with that we rolled on for some additional lubrication to top off a stellar start to the season. We can’t wait to do it all again in 2 weeks after easter. Until then enjoy your choccies!
Exhibit I: Big Hits, Big Screens our new French Oyster can do it all
SATURDAY 15TH APRIL: OYSTERS V HARLEQUINS @ WATERLOO OVAL
SATURDAY 22ND APRIL: OYSTERS V OLD BARKER @ WOOLLAHRA #1
Thank you to our great sponsors of 2023