Hilton turn the tables on Michaelhouse in both rugby and hockey

2012-06-26 00:00

THE only sport in KZN schools was at Hilton where they were hosting Michaelhouse in both rugby and hockey. During the first encounter between the two schools earlier this term, Michaelhouse had won both the rugby and cricket.

Hilton showed why the results in the return game are difficult to predict. As far as the talent in the two sides was concerned, both rugby and hockey should have been won by the Balgowan lads. But Hilton turned the form books upside down as they had the better of the possession and territory on Gilfillan, but on Beckinghams they made the better of their chances, despite having less circle entries and penalty corners.

Hilton 26 Michaelhouse 22

A large crowd of close to 10 000 was treated to some top class schoolboy rugby. The game was on a knife edge throughout and just as it seemed one side was going to run away with it, the other side came back.

The game had most things one could wish for in the 70 minutes. There were some huge tackles, handling was in the main good, moves were executed at pace and slick passing, good scrumming, lineout jumping and forward drives made for an enjoyable afternoon. Perhaps the difference between the winners and the losers was the defence.

Michaelhouse, being the top-ranked KZN team, was expected to do well and they did have the better of possession. Turnovers were frequent after the bone-crunching tackles and only three tries were scored, two by Hilton and one by Michaelhouse.

Robbie Anderson put the visitors into an early lead with a penalty five minutes into the game. Hilton then kept Michaelhouse in their own half and after some good phases, right wing Jaeger Richmond scored in the corner. Cameron Wright had his kicking boots on and he converted from close to the touchline. Anderson added another three points for Michaelhouse to trail 6-7 after the first quarter.

Two further penalties were traded by Wright and Anderson making the score 10-9 to the home side. Richmond was quick to react to a mistake by Michaelhouse behind their goal line and he was first to the ball, to score his second try, and with an easy conversion by Wright, Hilton had stretched their lead to 17-9. Michaelhouse ended the half in a resolute way, exerting pressure on the Hilton line. They went over, but the ball was held up and from the subsequent five-metre scrum, Joshua Moon drove over in the 32nd minute. Anderson made sure with a relatively easy conversion and on the stroke of half time, he added another three points with a drop kick from over 40 metres out. This took the visitors into half time 19-17 in front.

The second half only produced three penalties, but the play went from touchline to touchline as attempts were made to break the defensive lines.

The home side played the more enterprising rugby, and when they took the lead with another Wright penalty just three minutes after kickoff, they did not again relinquish it.

Hilton 2 Michaelhouse 1

Michaelhouse had most of the opportunities as their midfield dominated and served the forwards with some good ball. It was the Hilton defence that stood up, particularly goalkeeper Tom Lennon, preventing more than the one goal that the visitors scored.

When play did break down, Hilton were particularly fast on the break and most of their chances came from these breaks. It was a fast moving match, which kept one of the biggest crowds seen around a school’s hockey match, enthralled throughout. Cards were dished out fairly regularly, as players became over exuberant at times.

At half time, Hilton were ahead by one goal after they had converted a penalty corner by Michael Salgado. During the second half, two goals were scored in the first six minutes and thereafter, both teams tried their utmost, but the goals stayed intact. Although the visitors did have more chances, it was Lennon and their back three that prevented more than the goal scored from a penalty corner variation by Tyrone Thomas that closed the gap to 1-2. Matthew Holding had scored just after half time when he surprised the Michaelhouse defence, running down the centre of the pitch to beat Jason Coyne in the Michaelhouse goals.

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