Titanic rugby battle

2014-06-24 00:00

WESTVILLE and College produced a top-notch match on Bowden’s (Westville), Glenwood completely overpowered Kearsney, Hilton got a morale-boosting win against Port Natal, Michaelhouse had an entertaining fixture against a spirited St Charles side, Clifton sneaked home against Voortrekker high school and Kloof High School produced the goods on home soil in their traditional Derby Day clash against neighbours Hillcrest.

Westville 11 College 11

This was Westville’s final fixture for the term and they could hold their heads high after a titanic battle on home soil, a fitting way of celebrating their annual Reunion Weekend in front of many old boys.

It was always going to be a hard match to predict a winner and perhaps sharing the spoils was fitting in the end. Both sides had enjoyed solid recent form, College coming off a big win against DHS and Westville doing the same against Hilton.

A massive crowd lined the field for a match that was a tight, tense showdown, with neither team able to stamp their authority on proceedings, matching each other in all aspects of the game.

Westville scored first through captain Kyan Braithwaite landing a penalty in the 10th minute, his side enjoying the slender lead until just before half time when College fullback Matt Kriel levelled matters.

The second period delivered more physical rugby, with Westville having the edge in the scrums and College taking care of the lineouts.

At the breakdowns, both sides fought for possession, showing solid technique in preventing turn­over ball.

Again, Braithwaite and Kriel traded penalties to keep the sides deadlocked and the first try of the afternoon came for the visitors when, after a sustained period of pressure deep in Westville’s half, Kriel crashed over in the corner.

He missed the conversion but his side was ahead as time ticked by. With nothing to lose and all to play for, Westville refused to give in, launching attack after attack on College’s try line.

College’s defence rose to the occasion and when it seemed they might hold out and pull off a memorable win, Westville tighthead prop Cody Thomas planted the ball over the whitewash with minimal time to play. This time, Braithwaite was left to agonise over a conversion that went wide and the final whistle saw the sides still even.

Westville have come far through the season and after a shaky start, have become respected opponents. They narrowly lost to Grey College in one of their matches at Kearsney’s Easter Rugby Festival and have gone from strength to strength.

Braithwaite has led well, never backing down from a challenge, and his tactical play and ability to read a game has often been the difference between winning and losing.

College have a tough road still to follow, coming back from the July holidays to face Glenwood and Affies in Pietermaritzburg, and Pretoria Boys’ High School and Grey College away.

Glenwood 85 Kearsney 13

Despite Kearsney starting well and putting Glenwood under pressure early on, it wasn’t long before the men in green clicked into overdrive and broke the defence with ease to score the first of their 12 tries.

Having won the last two encounters between the sides, Kearsney could not sustain the momentum as Glenwood enjoyed the bulk of possession and territory, making the visitors pay for any mistake.

Once Glenwood had scored, the result was never in doubt and despite Kearsney showing a competitive attitude mixed with tenacity, they had no answer to a side that dominated all aspects of the game, giving a clinical and direct performance for the full 70 minutes.

Tries for Glenwood came from centre Donny du Randt (3), fullback Morné Joubert (2), flyhalf Curtis Jonas, centre Sparks Ncgobo, number eight Marco Palvie (2), flank James Venter, scrumhalf Kwazi Khanyile and wing Ilunga Mukendi.

Jonas converted 11 tries and slotted a penalty to go with his try for a personal tally of 30 points.

Kearsney’s points came from a try from prop Matthew Maddock, with scrumhalf James Hall adding a conversion and two penalties.

A highlight for Kearsney was injured captain and flyhalf Tristan Tedder playing for 10 minutes to earn his 50th cap for the team, following in his father Bruce’s footsteps who reached the same milestone in 1992.

St Charles 17 Michaelhouse 29

Having had 50 points knocked up against them by Michaelhouse earlier in the season, St Charles pulled out all the stops in a spirited display on home ground on their Old Boys’ Day.

Michaelhouse, confident after a strong win against Kearsney the previous week, were nursing a rather long injury list, but coach Mike Schwartz took assurance that his replacements would apply themselves well and so it proved.

Starting well, Michaelhouse sprinted to a 19-0 lead at the break, running in three tries, with two converted.

A tough surface and a partisan home crowd sparked St Charles into action in the second half as they kept the famed Michaelhouse second half revival in check as the men in red and white also let their discipline slip with four yellow cards in this period.

Further misery was added when fullback Robbie Lee, enjoying a good afternoon with the boot, left the field injured.

St Charles took advantage, scoring three tries and adding a conversion, while Michaelhouse rounded off their work with two unconverted tries.

Michaelhouse will hope to be near full strength for this weekend’s season finale against rivals Hilton, at Hilton.

Kloof 24 Hillcrest 20

The traditional Derby Day between the two Upper Highway rivals saw teams meet each other at hockey, netball and rugby, with the latter played with all the passion, sweat and guts associated with such days.

Culminating in the first team match, the crowd was entertained in a clash that swung from side to side, the result in the balance right to the final whistle as Kloof attempted to defend the title won last year.

They started well, racing into a 14-0 lead, only to allow the visitors to bag a converted try and penalty to trail 14-10.

Losing rhythm, Kloof looked sloppy, giving away numerous penalties that hampered any momentum.

Hillcrest capitalised on one to narrow the gap to one point, but Kloof finally secured another five-pointer to be 19-13 ahead.

Both teams probed and attacked in the second half and it was Hillcrest, with a converted try, who threw the cat among the pigeons to suddenly be 20-19 in front.

Spurred on by a vocal crowd, Kloof carried the ball up well, the forwards providing the platform for slick handling among the backs, which resulted in the final, killer-blow try to give Kloof victory.

In other matches, Hilton were boosted by a much-needed win in taking care of Port Natal 45-5, just the tonic ahead of the looming showdown against Michaelhouse, on Gilfillan (Hilton), on Saturday. Hilton’s seconds beat George Campbell firsts 15-7 and Clifton College sneaked home 18-17 against Voortrekker.

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