[pullquote]Report and pictures courtesy of Richard Owens.[/pullquote]
Another weekend schools fixture, another storm brewing and given the historic rivalry between these two neighbouring teams a large crowd gathered at Sullivan School to see this quarter final medallion shield battle.
Campbell kicked off into the strong wind just about making the 10 m line and there followed a period of play where Sullivan kicked long and Campbell ran back at them.
Several times, using their big forwards, Campbell came close to breaking the line and only heroic defending from Sullivan kept Campbell from taking the lead on the 7th minute when the ref judged the ball held up as Campbell’s second row Daniel Harkin crashed over from the back of a ruck.
With Campbell enjoying the bulk of the possession, despite playing into the wind, and Sullivan struggling to get sufficient phase play there was a sense of inevitability that Campbell would score.
Having used their pack to so well in the initial period Campbell’s back line got a chance to show their pedigree and Matthew Booth at 12 displayed great strength and pace to break two tackles before bouncing the last defender to open the scoring for Campbell. A confident conversion from Rae got the extras and Campbell were ahead 7-0 on the 23 minute.
It wasn’t long before Campbell were back for another, this time through their impressive captain Flynn Longstaff who forged through the midfield. Quick recycling to the flying full back, Daniel Graham, and he was over for the second try. Rae just clipped the upright sending the ball wide and Campbell went to half time 12-0 ahead.
Sullivan responded as you’d expect with real fight and determination as they scraped for the ball at every opportunity. Deservedly their number eight got their first score under the posts after a series of well controlled close quarter rucks before he muscled his way to the line. The contest was back on as the conversion went over from out half.
Minutes later a penalty for not releasing gave Rae another shot at goal which he slotted home despite the difficult wind and now, at 15-7, Sullivan needed two scores.
They got one almost immediately from the restart as now it was Campbell’s turn to give away a penalty for the same infringement. 15 – 10 as the noise from supporters for both teams intensified.
Some huge tackles went in from both teams as they tried to finish each other off but it was Campbell who delivered the killer blow, again from the boot of Rae, and these 3 points took Campbell beyond Sullivan’s reach as the time was almost over.
Sullivan finished strongly, Campbell giving away a string of penalties, something they’ll have to address if they are to lift The Shield, but they did enough to see out the game.
Final score: Campbell College 18 Sullivan Upper 10
Richard caught up with Campbell’s coach and captain after the game.