IN ONE of schoolboy rugby’s great rivalry matches, Toowoomba Grammar School beat Downloads College by less than a converted try before a crowd of thousands to claim the O’Callaghan Cup for 2022.

The crosstown fixture, hailed as one of Toowoomba’s biggest annual sporting and social events, was this year held at Downlands for the first time since 2018.

Grammar got off to a flying start with a try in the opening seconds of the game to their number eight Oliver Chaffey after a wayward pass and fumble by Downlands on their own try line.

Minutes later Downlands had an opportunity to strike back and put points on the board through a penalty kick from 23 meters out right in front of the post but were unsuccessful.

Downlands did not have to wait long for another opportunity to hit back, but it took them three minutes of relentless work by their forwards before lock, Johnny Ryan, was able to pick and drive over the line for a try under the posts.

Downlands forwards Malinga Likio and Trevor King working up the middle. IMAGE: JimmyA Photography

Downlands proved that their strength was in their forwards, with big runs over the advantage line by props Malinga Likio and Trevor King.
Grammar forwards, not wanting to be outdone, launched their own pick and drive attacks on the Downlands try line resulting in captain and lock Charlie Horn scoring a try.

Grammar’s Chace Oates showed his confidence with the boot by slotting a penalty kick 35 meters out from in front right on half time.

It was Grammar leading 17-7 going into the second half, but Downlands were the first to strike through another display of power in the forwards with Trevor King driving over the line for a try.

Grammar was unable to crack the Downlands forwards try line defence and were forced to change their attacking option and put the ball through the hands of their backline, which culminated in winger Richard Dean scoring in the corner.

Grammar built on the success of their backs with an unbelievable flick pass offload by Chace Oates to fullback Will Nason who stepped and split several defenders before diving over the line for a try.

Fullback Will Nason triers to shrug of Downlands’ defence. IMAGE: JimmyA Photography

Downlands continued to push after full time and were rewarded with one final try to lock Mac Koch.

Toowoomba Grammar proved too good in the end winning 27-21 and extending their current win streak to four years.

Toowoomba Grammar head coach Scott Gale said that the big thing with schoolboy rugby is to do the simple things well.

“Credit to Downlands defence I think they defended really well in the middle,” Gale said.

“At half time we just thought that we could get a little more space and cause a little more trouble to Downlands on the edges.”

Toowoomba Grammar captain Charlie Horn said that it was “unreal” playing in front of such a large crowd and the boys and the supporters really brought them home in the end.


TGS captain, second rower Charlie Horn. IMAGE: JimmyA Photography

“Richard Dean was a standout in the back line but as a team everyone just did their job and it was great to see,” Horn said.

Downlands head coach Garrick Morgan said you can’t just gift a side like Grammar seven points in the opening minutes of a game.

“We defended really well just our attack play didn’t come off today,” Morgan said.

“Trevor King was a standout and Tom McDonald on the wing had a really good game.”

Downlands captain Rhys Chadburn said that there were some nerves heading into the match.

“First time back here we wanted that trophy but unfortunately we couldn’t get there,” he said.

Toowoomba Grammar School player of the game was Richard Dean. Downlands College player of the game was Rhys Chadburn.

Toowoomba Grammar celebrates victory over Downlands. IMAGE: JimmyA Photography
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