We are the army…the Uni army…

Let me take you on a journey back to the 2010/11 season.

Will Hay was the captain of first grade and weighed 80kgs. Our first grade team had Scott Henry batting at 5 and Nick Larkin at 7. Chrissy Withers was opening the bowling in second grade. Ken Huckle was opening the batting in third grade. Paul Bertelle was in his inaugural year captaining fifth grade and Adam Theobald had hair (…just kidding…but Paul really was fifth grade captain).

More specifically let’s talk about 27 February 2011; the unofficial birth date of the Uni army. Whilst prior to this date it was not uncommon for a congregation of Uni supporters to turn up on a Sunday to watch PGs and First grade play one-dayers (often in paddling pools celebrating Hasi Balasuriya getting hit for horns), this date sits as an undoubted milestone in the clubs history.

It was the first grade one day grand final at Manly. A hostile reception greeted the students on the field, but an even more hostile crowd greeted the Uni army off the field (see image one below). At this stage the Uni army was only made up of a couple of humble accountants and some impressionable youths, whereas Manly had half the North Shore making up their Manly Mess.

 The Uni Army is born - 27th Feb 2011 - 1st Grade Limited Overs Final - Manly Oval

The Uni Army is born - 27th Feb 2011 - 1st Grade Limited Overs Final - Manly Oval

It was a dreary Sunday and as a result of an uncharacteristic Saturday night circuit the army were all late to the game – and accordingly purchased a case each (see image two below) to help start the festivities.

 Some familiar faces discussing the virtues of the Responsible Service of Alcohol

Some familiar faces discussing the virtues of the Responsible Service of Alcohol

The game was a relatively dull affair (except for Scott Henry obstructing the field, the partnership cup, Josh Toyer’s 2 metre vertical leap catch and the cliff-hanger finish); accordingly the fans had to keep themselves entertained. Predictably, it wasn’t long before the Manly faithful started targeting one of their former players who saw the light and jumped to the blue and gold pastures of Sydney Uni.

As a chorus of boos started echoing each time Mark Faraday fielded the ball at backward point the army started to plot their first song (save for the standard SCOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTER chants). The next time Mark Faraday fielded the ball the army rose as one to bellow out “We’ve got Mark Faraday, We’ve got Mark Faraday, We’ve got Mark Faraday, We’ve got Mark Faraday etc”. And with this simple song the army was born.

The singing that continued after this is not suitable for this forum but a long story short saw the slender Will Hay lift the one-day trophy and the army (Harry Potter and all) win the off-field battle. The army continued to lead the students to the Nags and assist the celebrations with numerous more songs (e.g. “Super Buzz”).

What proceeded from this day were two more premierships in the 2010/11 year which the army celebrated in size – despite not actually playing in any of the teams.

Since this date the numbers in the army have swelled and the organisation has been passed to more reliable hands with most of the inaugural members of the army moving to the quieter ends of the ground.

The army have become a massive part of Uni home games on a Sunday and the atmosphere that they can create makes Uni No 1 a graveyard for opposition teams. I can’t encourage everyone enough to get down to the games and join the army. You will no doubt see the old wise stalwarts of the club mixed in with the young up and coming students sitting side by side supporting our team… not to mention Uni army life member Colin Robertson floating around – never too far from the action! Make sure you get down on Sunday at the SCG to be a part of the action!

 The current troops discuss battle plans at Uni No. 1 Oval

The current troops discuss battle plans at Uni No. 1 Oval

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