Late flourish from Michaelhouse

2008-05-11 00:00

It was another balmy autumnal afternoon in the midlands and a relatively small crowd of about 3 000 around Meadows at Michaelhouse watched the home team finish strongly to beat Maritzburg College 36-16.

The rugby played by the home side lost much of the fluency shown in their last two matches and this was largely a result of the intense pressure initially exerted by the visitors.

Michaelhouse eventually won the match by 20 points, but this does not reflect the early closeness of the game. Michaelhouse have been able to finish their matches by upping the intensity of their play in the last quarter and this match was no exception.

They have waited some time, eight years to be exact, for a win against College. With under 20 minutes remaining, College were leading 16-15 and an upset was on the cards, but skill and pace settled the contest in the closing quarter

The first half had seen both teams missing penalties, but Michaelhouse did score two tries. The first was scored by Patrick Lambie, when he surprised College with a dash down the touchline, to score in the corner after just three minutes of play. The second, by flyhalf Reef Nakin, followed a superb grubber kick through the College defensive line, which he picked up to dot down. Ruan Combrinck made certain with his kick.

College were kept in the game by some silly mistakes by Michaelhouse and at the break, the score was 12-9 as Rob Scot goaled three penalties for the visitors. The first half was played mostly between the two 22-metre lines, with College forwards getting most of the possession.

The College forwards played well but they began making mistakes in the final quarter when the Michaelhouse backline came into their own. They have impressive explosive pace and used it against the generally slow College threequarters as they counter-attacked off wayward kicking to score two tries in the last 10 minutes.

Michaelhouse had increased their lead to 15-9 with a penalty by Combrinck, but in the 12th minute the College forwards kept possession in the 22-metre area and quick ruck ball resulted in centre Andrew Norton diving over in the corner. Scott’s touch line conversion was successful but College led (16-15) for the first time in the match.

In the 21st minute, a College mistake at an attacking lineout on the Michaelhouse five-metre line, saw Michaelhouse advance up the field, with Nakin making the initial running up the centre and ending with a try to centre Patrick Howard. Michaelhouse were back in the lead at 22-16.

College continued to lose lineouts and what possession they did get they kicked back at Michaelhouse, who countered each time. Two further tries were scored in the last 10 minutes, both from missed touch kicks by College, which allowed the pacy Michaelhouse backs to counter good effect.

Combrinck set up the first as his pace took him down the left flank, rounding the defence and a pass inside to centre Robert de Bruyn saw him score under the crossbar for an two points by Combrinck. The final and fifth try, scored by Nakin, came after De Bruyn made the initial break.

Combrinck made sure with the conversion (36-16) as Michaelhouse and the crowd enjoyed a rare win over College.

Other available scores:

Hilton 5 DHS 5; Kearsney 71 Northwood 0; Glenwood 22 Westville 5; Voortrekker 19 Clifton 10; Parktown 17 St Charles 8; Hillcrest 19 Kingsway 14; Wartburg 32 Greytown 19; Thomas Moore 25 St Henrys 3; New Forest 35 Linpark 13; George Campbell 5 Pinetown 5; Creston 32 Crawford NC 10; Crawford LL 46 Grosvenor 10; Kuswag 21 Kloof 19.

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