Episode 4: It's always Darkest before the Dawn
There comes a time in every young Oysters life, where an external shock will threaten their ability to adequately form on a reef and perform their essential ecosystem services. These external shocks come in many forms, as exhibited in Figure 1, and it is only the hardiest, most resilient Oysters that will survive and flourish into the beautiful creamy bivalve molluscs that we know and love. As our lovely sponsor Deb from Hawkesbury River Oyster Shed can attest to, there is no rhyme or reason as to when or where one of these external shocks may come from. If you’re an avid Oysters Rugby follower, you will be aware that due to recent heavy rain, many Oysters were lost and as such we are raising funds for the Hawkesbury River Oyster Shed through t-shirt sales that can be found on our website:
Exhibit A: NEVER AGAIN
We sympathise especially with Deb and the team up on the Hawkesbury this week, as we received an external shock ourselves in the form of a very spirited, and well drilled Redfield Old Boys side last Saturday. Whilst we’ll leave it up to Coach Boone to dissect the game, we’d like to extend a congratulations to both sides that took to Lyne Park (our Reef Away from Reef) on Saturday, for a gripping, incredibly close contest that went right down to the final seconds. If you don’t believe us check out Team Manager Nick Stace’s heart rate data from the sideline (Figure 2), thankfully medics were on standby.
However just like floodwaters on the Hawkesbury, our pain will too subside, only to reveal stronger, more resilient and you better believe creamier Oysters than ever. Bring on the next challenge.
Exhibit B: Spectating was tough enough, try playing, full credit to Redfield OBs
It was top of the table match up for our round 3 clash, which saw Redfield Old Boys venture south to the home reef at Lyne Park. The game started strongly as we quickly worked our way into ROBs half and applied pressure. Our forwards were attacking with good width around the ruck, running hard and direct lines. Hugh Morgan crossed over from close for our first points and Nick Stubbs extended our lead with another try not long after, continuing his meat-eating spree.
After dominating the opening exchanges, we probably took our foot off the pedal and allowed Redfield to work themselves back into the game. They started to string together some phases and test our defensive line. We got caught with narrow spacing a couple of times and their outside backs ruthlessly exploited this off set piece, scoring a nice try in the process. During the phases, our physicality and line speed were good for the most part, however too often we were disjointed when come off the line, leaving plenty of holes to be punched through. Unfortunately, this extended to our kick chase as well, and directly resulted in another ROBs try. When we had the ball in attack for the remainder of the half, our handling was really letting us down. We could not seem to go more then 3 or 4 phases without dropping the ball, and it was impossible to get into any rhythm as a result. An intercept try to ROBs closed out the half.
It was a noticeable step change in atmosphere around the ground, as we found ourselves trailing at halftime. Realising we were playing too frantically, shifting to the backs too early, the guys looked to play a bit tighter and build some momentum in the second half. Mack Bowman came on and provided good direction and composure from halfback. Jordy Simonovich on debut was also providing a real positive impact off the bench, particularly with his clean out work at the breakdown. Once we had some decent field possession the forwards went to work close to the line, and after many phases Nick Findlay finally scored to bring us back into reach.
The final 15 minutes of the game was incredibly tight. ROBs had most of the field position and we felt the pressure. As we looked to clear our own 22, a sliced kick landed right in the hands of a ROBs winger, who had a clean run to the try line and extended their lead. Running out of time and down by 8, the boys hustled and regathered a kick-off close to ROBs line. Despite the handling issues continuing, Mack Bowman sniped from the base of the ruck to score, bringing us within 1 point of the lead. Unfortunately, we could not get the job done and suffered our first loss as a club. The poor handling was our Achilles’ heel and proved too much to overcome. Despite this, I was impressed with the fight from the team to comeback within 1 point and to not roll over. The experience will serve us well as we look to rally and bounce back going into round 5.
With a new year, we have the chance to bring on some new sponsors as we look to continue building our bonds within the community. We thank you for your commitment to the 2021 season and look forward to seeing you down at our games. We know that 2020 was a tough year for everyone and appreciate the support. There is simply no way we would be able to have the kit, equipment or ground hire without the valued contribution of our sponsors and for that we are grateful.
Note to All Sponsors:
We will be hosting our first Oysters Sponsor Day on 19th June 2021, email invitations will be issued shortly and we hope to see as many of you down there as possible.
We've also got some special edition Oyster T-Shirts to help out our favourite Oyster Famers down at the Hawkesbury River Oyster Shed. All proceeds are going to Deb and her hardworking Oyster enthusiasts after being decimated by the torrential rain that lashed the East Coast.
Exhibit K: RIP
Exhibit L: My oh My we need this
Exhibit M: Only JUST!!
As always, have a fantastic week, go the Oysters, and above all, SHUCK ‘EM!
Sydney Harbour Rugby Club