College win first Skonk Cup memorial

2011-03-28 00:00

A RELATIVELY small crowd was treated to some good rugby on Goldstones, but it was also frustrating at times for the home supporters.

Maritzburg College will be pleased with their 32-0 win over rivals Durban High School, but with more rugby behind them they should eliminate many of their handling errors.

College become the first winners of the inaugural Skonk Nicholson Memorial Cup, which was presented by DHS in memory of the late JM ‘Skonk’ Nicholson, an icon of both schools. Skonk was a pupil at DHS and in his final year in 1935 was head prefect, captain of rugby, cricket and athletics. He also captained the Natal Schools XV. After the war he was appointed to teach at College, following a short stint at DHS just before WW2 broke out. Much to the disappointment of DHS he was appointed to teach at College from 1944, after demobilisation from the army because of injury. He remained at College until his retirement in 1982. The doyen of schoolboy rugby coaches, he was in charge of the College first team for 34 years and included 13 unbeaten teams.

This particular cup was the initial House Rugby cup at DHS and Skonk was presented with the cup in the 1930s when his house Blackmores (the boarder house) won the interhouse rugby.

It was also fitting that international referee Craig Joubert, a College old boy, handled this historic game. He allowed plenty of advantage and managed play to keep penalties to a minimum.

College were given a good test both on attack and in defence, ideal preparation before embarking on the trip to Port Elizabeth to play in the Grey HS Festival, beginning next Saturday.

At the half-time break College led 11-0, but the last 10 or so minutes of the half was probably the best period of play for the visitors as they kept College under tremendous pressure, camping in their 22 metre area. This tested the College defence and they were not found wanting. This included a heel against the head after DHS had forced a five metre scrum.

College were superior in the scrums, but it was DHS who won more ball in the line-outs. The College backs were better organised and made some telling breaks only for the ball to go forward or a handling mistake in the final pass to prevent a College score. At the breakdown College were superior with flank Penwel Shezi outstanding. The College captain, Stephan Ungerer, an outstanding scrumhalf, was another player prominent in recycling the ball.

After the first 10 minutes, College centre Matthew Phillips had been successful with two penalty goals to lead 6-0. Just after midway in the first half, College’s Zolile Makiwane scored in the corner.

DHS would have been disappointed that they did not score some points in the last period of the half, but it was good College defence that kept them out.

In the 11th minute of the second half Ungerer read the play well and he took the ball from the DHS flyhalf, running 45 metres to score.

Other available scores:

St Charles 18 Voortrekker 0; Kearsney 42 Hilton 0; Westville 32 Michaelhouse 12; Northwood 10 George Campbell 7; Carter 34 Grosvenor 0; St Henry’s 17 Scottburgh 3.

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