Michaelhouse struck harder

2016-06-22 06:00
Hilton lock Matt Hull and centres Nicholas Winskill and Chipo Mupeso set up an attack against Michaelhouse. PHOTO: MARALYN ATKINS

Hilton lock Matt Hull and centres Nicholas Winskill and Chipo Mupeso set up an attack against Michaelhouse. PHOTO: MARALYN ATKINS

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MICHAELHOUSE surprised Hilton on Gilfillan on Saturday and Kearsney were too strong for a game and spirited St Charles side in Pietermaritzburg in the two main schoolboy rugby clashes of the weekend.
Hilton 17 Michaelhouse 21

In front of a large crowd, Hilton were keen to pull off the double over their traditional rivals, having won the first encounter 10-8 at Balgowan earlier in the season.

Having lost to Kearsney and College in two bruising encounters, Hilton wanted to end the season with purpose but House were not to be underestimated coming off a win against DHS the previous week.

Hilton started with energy, running at House with power to soon open a 12-0 lead. Early tries came from flyhalf and captain Angus Curtis and wing Thomas Fraser, fullback Cameron Badenhorst converting the Curtis effort having taken over the kicking duties following a shoulder injury to Curtis in the match against Kearsney. As House settled down, they started to make solid ground by holding onto possession and using the pick and go gameplan to great effect.

This called on Hilton’s defence to stand firm but House stuck to their guns, chipping away and going through strong phases.

Just before the break, House lock Grant Haines dotted down for flyhalf William Glassock to convert and the game was in the balance as the sides changed ends with Hilton 12-7 ahead.

Since losing Curtis’s trusty boot for the kicking duties, Hilton have been left to ponder what could have been in the match against College and again on this occasion. Four kicks were missed throughout the game and in hindsight, this could have taken them to that cherished win. It was not to be, though, and they had to do it the hard way by running at the opposition.

House struck first in the second half when outside centre Luke Versfeld broke through for Glassock to convert and the boys from Balgowan were suddenly 14-12 ahead. Hilton came back and grabbed their third try through Badenhorst, who was unable to convert, but his side were 17-14 ahead. With about eight minutes remaining, House sealed the deal when inside centre Kyle Thompson scored a converted try for what proved the final result (21-17).

Hilton, knowing they had to attack, finished strongly, kicking for corner and working hard for the winning score. Two of House’s tries came from Hilton errors but credit must be given to the boys in red and white for their tactical play and holding onto possession.

On the day, rugby was definitely the winner and the two fine contests between the schools gave further reason as to why rugby clashes between them remain a firm favourite.
St Charles 6 Kearsney 52

Played on St Charles’ Old Boys’ Day, this was always going to be tough for the home side against a Kearsney side who have enjoyed a strong season.

St Charles did however enjoy the lead for a brief moment when flyhalf Brandon van Zyl slotted an early penalty for a 3-0 advantage. It did not take long for Kears­ney to shift into gear and they were soon over the whitewash when hooker Dylan Richardson gave a final pass to flyhalf Cameron Ritchie to score in the left corner (5-3). With Kearsney’s pack beginning to dominate and securing valuable turnover ball, it wasn’t long before Ritchie bagged his second try of the afternoon, wing James Sutherland converting for a 12-3 lead.

Kearsney’s third try came from wing Reece Daniel, the conversion stretching the lead to 19-3. St Charles, with nothing to lose, enjoyed a steady passage of play which ended with Van Zyl’s second penalty (19-6). Although playing with heart and character, St Charles could not stem the tide and Kearsney soon had their fourth try following great interchange between their Craven Week players Luke Croshaw (flanks) and Ritchie, Croshaw doing the final honours.

Sutherland added the extras and Kears­ney were a handy 26-6 ahead at the change. Kearsney were soon full of running, Richardson, another Craven Week player, continuing to impress in a golden season. Again, great play between backs and forwards ended with lock David Weaver sending centre Matthew Blair over next to the uprights for Sutherland to convert (33-6).

Sutherland added his own seven-pointer as Kearsney dominated all phases (40-6) and then came the try of the match as Weaver dived over after a succession of phases and carries where Richardson and captain Greg van Noordwyk were prominent. The conversion was successful (47-6).

Still St Charles kept trying for a try of their own and in the cruellest of luck, were on the attack when the ball was stripped from them for Richardson to round off a fine afternoon with a 40m run to the tryline (52-6).

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