Thrills galore in schools encounter

2012-05-01 00:00

THE rugby match on Gillfillan field in front of a good crowd, between Hilton and Kearsney, certainly had most of what you could wish for in a rugby game. There was committed defence by both teams, some superb handling, pace with the ball in hand and plenty of excitement. Most of the game was played at a frenetic pace, with players, referee Andrew Nicholson and spectators having little time to gather their breath.

More than the one try scored in Hilton’s 13-6 win would have been scored if the defence had not been as good as it was. When a tackle was missed it was because of a magical sidestep, a swerve by the ball-carrier, a turn of speed or a player slipping on the browning kikuyu grass, but each time the cover defence prevented the tryline from being crossed. There were some bone-crunching tackles which would have sent many a normal mortal to the emergency room of a hospital.

All the points were scored during the first half, but this did not make for a dreary second half. To the contrary, the pace probably picked up and it almost appeared that some of the visiting forwards were running out of legs towards the end. They still managed to pressurise the home side late in the second half, as they camped in the Hilton 22 metre area. This brought the crowd to their feet as they were stopped inches short on two occasions. A try then would likely have levelled the scores. Hilton defences held and they then made one last attempt at almost scoring before the final whistle.

After the first five minutes, where the two sides felt one another out with some aerial ping-pong, the ball started moving between players. When Kearsney played out wide, something Hilton were fortunate did not happen often, they looked very dangerous. Hilton’s flyhalf Cameron Wright varied his play to always keep his forwards going forward. He either made some good breaks, linked with either pop or long passes, or he kicked intelligently, to always be a thorn in the Kearsney defence.

Another player that had a storming game was captain and lock Sebastian Negri. He was a tower of strength in the lineouts, when Hilton did not over elaborate, in the scrums and tight loose and had some very good runs.

After the first quarter the score was three all, as centre Sandile Kubeka and Wright traded penalties. In the 22nd minute Wright broke, running 40 metres to score next to the uprights. He broke a number of desperate attempted tackles with neat swerves and sidesteps. He converted and Hilton led 10-3. Almost from the kick off, Wright landed a 52 metre kick to stretch the lead, which was then narrowed by Kubeka a few minutes later. This left the half-time score at 13-6.

Hilton arguably had the better of the first 25 minutes of the second half as they won more ball from the tight phases and at the tackles. Kearsney then had their best attacking period in the game, before a final onslaught by Hilton.

The home side was the better side on the day, thus deserving their clear victory.

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