Westville make Michaelhouse work hard

2008-07-27 00:00

The game on Meadows at Michaelhouse was hard fought, with the class of the home side eventually prevailing over a determined Westville. Michaelhouse won comfortably enough 26-8, by three tries to one, but it took 46 minutes before the first try was scored.

It was not always pretty, but there were moments of excellent handling on attack and bone-crunching tackles in stout defence. Both teams were guilty of careless errors, much to the frustration of the crowd of about 3 000 spectators.

The home side had the better of possession in the first half, but could not penetrate the Westville defences. The tight phases saw Westville putting pressure on their hosts, particularly in the scrums. The lineouts were seldom cleanly won and it was often a lottery as to who would win the ball.

Played in ideal conditions, both teams were perhaps over eager to dominate and this was the possible reason for the mistakes, which did spoil the flow. Referee Cecil Cryer tried to allow advantage, but had to pull them back when a second infringement often occurred.

At the break, Michaelhouse led 6-3. Captain and SA Schools’ fullback Patrick Lambie landed two penalties, the second from 40m out. Dwayne Kelly, the Westville scrumhalf, then narrowed the gap with a penalty of his own.

The second half saw more constructive play, with both sides making inroads into opposition territory, but defence kept the try lines intact. Westville dominated the scrums, with Michaelhouse often winning the ball, but going backwards. It takes a good side to win the match when the forwards have been dominated.

Lambie increased the lead to 9-3 two minutes after the kick off and it wasn’t until the 11th minute that Michaelhouse appeared to have driven over the line.

The spectators behind the dead ball line, mainly supporting the home team, certainly thought that a try had been scored, but Cryer was unsighted and he ruled a five-metre scrum. Westville’s relieving kick screwed off the boot into the hands of left wing Awande Khumalo, who easily dotted down.

Just minutes later, Westville were awarded a scrum in the Michaelhouse 22 metre area. Despite having been dominated in the scrums, hooker Martin Blore won a tighthead and some good handling saw the Michaelhouse backline sweep down field, with Lambie eventually scoring in the right hand corner. He missed the conversion, but the home side now had a commanding 19-3 lead.

Five minutes on, Michaelhouse were again on attack and it was Khumalo who made the metres down the left flank before passing inside to hooker Blore, who ran 10 metres to score under the posts. This time Lambie added the extra points and Michaelhouse increased their lead to 26-3.

To their credit, Westville did not give up and they came back strongly to score the final points of the game, when replacement U16 centre Dean Box scored in the corner.

Other results:

Hilton 20 Kearsney 10; Glenwood 24 Affies 7; Pretoria BHS 29 Maritzburg College 17; Voortrekker 25 George Campbell 15.

• Reports of other games will be included in Mike Hill’s schools’ rugby round-up in tomorrow’s Witness.

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