Heading for the whitewash. KES right wing Cade Robertson leaves Bishops left wing Ross
Goodwin trailing in his wake as he heads for the try line in his side’s 35-14 win on
Saturday 29 April, day one of the Wynberg Festival. (photo courtesy of KES)
Last days of festivals have a habit of tossing up odd results as coaches try to give everyone in their squads adequate game-time.
That said, nothing prepared people for one of the biggest shocks of the season on Monday 1 May 2017, the second and final day of the Wynberg Winter Sports Festival.
The weather was playing its part and the crowd was generally in a mellow mood when Rondebosch trotted out for what seemed like a gentle muscle-stretcher against a Hugenote side which has given little indication of great ambitions this campaign.
Seventy minutes later the Wellington lads had registered an unlikely 34-32 victory, one which will long remain in the memory of those who witnessed it.
Let’s look at the results as they happened.
Parel Vallei (7) 7 Upington (3) 22
Even though inside centre Sheldon Janse van Rensburg scored a neat try in the first half, Parel Vallei never really looked in control of the 9:20 match.
The larger Upington forwards were always going to pose an insurmountable threat to the Helderbergers, now matter how impressive the latter's’ work ethic.
The side from the banks of the Orange River kept cool heads and, thanks to the clever reading of the game by flyhalf Iwan Lombard, crossed for three well-deserved tries to seal the victory.
Wynberg (17) 31 Lydenburg (10) 10
The youthfulness of large parts of the Berg pack and the rather slow service to the outer backs prevented Wynberg from winning this one by a more comfortable margin.
Fortunately, no.8 Cameron Bowes put his hand up and crowned an impressive outing with two vital tries, while young hooker Jason Alexander was also rewarded for his tireless foraging.
Probably the greatest positive, however, was the impressive goalkicking of full-back David Botha, whose 60% record did not include any sitters.
Even though they readily admitted having entered this event as part of a learning experience, at no stage did Lydenburg disgrace themselves and might even have narrowed the losing margin, had the occasional loose pass and a miserly Wynberg defence not got in their way.
Durbanville (7) 17 Windhoek High (7) 41
A brilliant opening try by young outside centre Juanré de Klerk turned out to be all the Durbies had to get excited about until late in the game when their talisman, Jean Aucamp, popped up in various places in the backline, dotting down twice.
The Namibian pack proved a bridge too far for the northern suburbs eight, contributing all six tries, no.8 Oderich Mouton again snatching the Man of the Match award with two tries and a year’s worth of memorable grafting.
The importance of having a reliable tee-man was underlined by the competence of Delron Brand at full-back.
On Thursday the travellers play Augsburg Gym in Clanwilliam as they make their way home. Now that could be an interesting encounter!
Bellville (5) 8 KES (13) 16
Despite the temporary absence of centre Dan Aspeling, the boys from Bellville did their reputation no end of credit as they hustled and bustled for the full seventy minutes against the mighty KES side.
True, the Gautengers did field pretty well all of their bench players, but, even when they brought on some of the big guns in the last quarter of proceedings, they couldn’t crack the local defence.
Each side scored just one try via their left wings, Bellville’s coming after a lightning dash by left wing Dillon Ekland, while Tyler Hayward rounded off the sole really promising attack launched by the youngsters in the red jerseys.
The fact that the visitors had to rely heavily on full-back Kennedy Mpeku’s goalkicking tells you just how fiercely the Bellville forwards contested the loose exchanges. Locks Xavier Haupt and Marlo Conradie put in yeoman work, while Man of the Match Dewald Pienaar on the flank had a game to remember.
This was a perfect example of a top side doing whatever was necessary to avoid the potential festival banana peel – opposition hell-bent on trying to make a name for themselves by upsetting more fancied opposition.
DF Malan (18) 24 Swartland (5) 20
Swartland must really have felt like kicking themselves for not winning this one. Then again, given their frankly appalling tee-work, they better find someone else to kick them.
With the protagonists evenly-matched upfront, it was always going to be up to the nippy Swartland backs to influence the result.
The elegant play of tiny flyhalf Heinrich van der Watt, who calmly dictated matters and whose goalkicking was equally impressive, sank the hopes of the Malmesbury side. His fourteen points consisted of three penalties, a conversion and a beautiful dropped goal.
By contrast, Swartland’s four tries should have seen them home, but six missed attempts at the posts, four of which were from very favourable positions, will haunt them for some time.
Flyhalf Ryle Daniels scored two fine tries, while former Boland Grant Khomo hooker JP Groenewald also added a five-pointer.
Rondebosch (27) 32 Hugenote (10) 34
Wow ! Nothing could have prepared those spectators who’d bothered to sit the day out than this astonishing result in a game which bore striking similarities to Bishops’ comeback win against Stellenberg last week.
Bosch didn’t really do anything wrong; they just relaxed ever so slightly and, once they’d been given a sniff, the Blackies’ appetite quickly became insatiable.
And don’t be fooled by all the larger numbers on the locals’ scoresheet; Falconer, Smid and Blake were all on the field for various reasons before the twenty-minute mark, all three of them crossing the whitewash as Mark Lindenberg’s charges built up a comfortable advantage.
Inside centre Jaymian Steyn kept the pride of Wellington in the frame, converting wing Joshua Everts’ try and adding a few penalties and two more conversions as his team drew ever closer.
The hero of the second half was undoubtedly Hugenote left wing Franco Hendricks, whose two tries took his side within striking distance.
At 32-27 it was very much game on and things took a further engrossing turn when referee Benny Botma and his young assistant agreed on the awarding of a penalty try to the Blackies.
Enter captain Robbie Davis, who’d been the designated water- and tee-carrier up to that point, in place of flyhalf Hugo Minnaar, who, one must note, had converted two tries and a penalty.
Time had all but expired when relentless driving play by the increasingly anxious Bosch boys saw Davis over under the crossbar. He opted to take the simple conversion himself…and pushed it wide from 15 metres!
That, I suppose, is life. Better to learn the bitter lessons early and leave more time for the sweet stuff.
The enormous crowd in attendance on both days seemed just as, if not more, interested in some of the thrilling age-group games, which were spiced up by the presence of the likes of Outeniqua, Oakdale, St Andrew’s (Grahamstown) and Noord-Kaap.
Some real nail-biters etched themselves into festival legend. Not so, unfortunately, the 82-0 58-minute stroll Tygerberg had against an apparently makeshift Langa Development XV.
Needless to say, rugby organizer-in-chief Mike Engelbrecht has probably already started drafting next year’s programme!
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