Westville go down by a point in Balgowan encounter

2010-03-08 00:00

FORTUNATELY, the match between Michaelhouse and Westville was played on Meadows at Michaelhouse. A breeze and a 3.20 pm start made conditions pleasant for the spectators and cooler than expected for the players, at this early start to the school rugby season.

Michaelhouse scraped an 18-17 win, and although the game had its moments, it was the excitement and not the rugby that kept the spectators interested, particularly in the second half, after the home side led 7-5 at the break. Referee Chris Healey punished Westville severely, largely at the tackle/ruck situation, so they conceded three times as many penalties as did Michaelhouse.

With the Westville forwards superior in the scrums, mauls and rucks, the penalties kept Michaelhouse in the game as they were able to kick themselves out of trouble a number of times when Westville looked threatening.

Both sides made mistakes in their handling and passing, but it was evident that Westville have had more practice then Michaelhouse.

With two practice matches behind them, they would have been disappointed that they made so many penalisable mistakes and didn’t take more advantage of the breeze in the first half, as they had the territorial advantage and looked threatening when in possession.

The second half was better for the home side, as they used the breeze to better advantage, made fewer mistakes, becoming more confident as the match progressed. Westville scored three tries to two, but were let down by their kicker who converted only one kick.

Centre Tyler Fisher used his pace to score on the outside of the Michaelhouse defence in the fourth minute. After sustained pressure in the Westville 22 metre area, the ball went out quickly to right wing Michael Watson, who scored in the corner. Hilton Mudariki converted well to put Michaehouse into a 7-5 lead midway through the half.

Many Westville attacks came to naught as they were penalised, allowing Michaelhouse to get out of trouble, and for the rest of the half the score remained unchanged.

Just one minute into the second half, a maul following a lineout close to the Michaelhouse tryline saw flank Ntanda Mpungose score. Flyhalf Duncan Campbell converted, to put Westville back into a 12-7 lead. Thys Albertse, Michaelhouse scrumhalf, narrowed the gap with a penalty five minutes later.

Westville scrumhalf and captain Dwayne Kelly then scored from a ruck after an attack on the Michaelhouse line. Albertse again narrowed the gap a few minutes later with his second penalty to make it 13-17.

Then came the try of the match. Michaelhouse left wing Eric Wiehe-Lagesse made the running down the left touchline and as the Westville defence closed him down, he passed inside to fullback James Hitchcock, who then passed outside to flyhalf Mudariki, who scored in the corner. The conversion was missed as was a penalty from each team in the remaining 10 minutes.

Other scores: Kearsney 66 Voortrekker 7; Kearsney II 26 Port Natal 18; Carter 10 Alexandra 5

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