Randwick win NSW Grand Final
August 19, 2000

Young prop Matthew Bowman picked the perfect moment to score his first top grade try as Randwick won the New South Wales Rugby Union premiership with a dramatic 36-33 win over Sydney University at Waratah Stadium.
In a move christened 'Dong Dong' after the favourite restaurant of Randwick institution Jeff Sayle, Bowman crashed over University's line following a lineout win and forward surge to give his team a 34-33 lead inside the last three minutes.

The Galloping Greens scored five tries to three and stretched their winning streak to 15 as they collected their first premiership since 1996.

In a fluctuating contest, University led 10-3 early, but Randwick retaliated to hold a 29-13 advantage before University reeled off 20 unanswered points.

Benefiting from improved ball retention, a very favourable penalty count and the goal-kicking of skipper and five-eighth Chris Malone, University looked set to end its 28 year first grade premiership drought.

However, Randwick capitalised on one of its few second half penalties with fullback Brendan Williams producing a superb touch-finder which set up a lineout five metres from the University line.

Randwick's outstanding lock Omar Hassanein won the crucial throw and Australian under-21 frontrower Bowman supplied the finishing touch from the ensuing drive.

"I suppose it was quite surreal, the whole experience, but it's a good time to get my first first grade try," said 21-year-old Bowman, one of six former Sydney High School players in the Randwick side.

University made a dream start with impressive fullback Ed Carter galloping over 30 metres and beating Randwick backs Brendan Williams and Willie Gordon to register a second minute try.

Randwick set up a 17-13 halftime lead courtesy of converted tries to hooker Adam Freier and Williams, who polished off a burst from Hassanein.

Randwick looked home when winger James Pritchard crossed within 40 seconds of the re-start and Williams zipped between Malone and lock Daniel Vickerman in the 49th minute to set up a 16 point advantage.

Sustained pressure from University was rewarded with tries to centre Luke Inman and hooker Brendan Cannon and two close range penalties to Malone pushed Uni four points clear.

However, resilient Randwick refused to lie down with Williams, who had earlier produced a try-saving tackle on University's John Deery, setting up the decisive score with a rare kick.

"From adulation to despair, it's cruel," lamented University coach Ross Reynolds. "You've got to give them credit, they did the good kick to get there and they had a good driving lineout, but it's sad it came down to that."

Randwick captain and flanker Stu Pinkerton said his side didn't play badly while University launched its stunning recovery but his side didn't see much ball in that period. "We deserved to win because we've been playing well all year and I reckon we hung in there and showed plenty of heart," Randwick coach John Maxwell said.

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