Hospitable as the Donkeys always are – gallons of coffee, loads of lasagne and super snacks – they have very little influence on the weather.
The light rain of the afternoon might have put a bit of a damper on proceedings, but, as night fell and the skies cleared, conditions actually deteriorated to a chilling 8 degrees.
As one might imagine, given the backline-oriented style of both teams, the players were keen to move the ball around, but struggled to control the slippery ball.
The Donkeys found their feet first, crackerjack scrumhalf Romeo Eksteen and equally small flyhalf Dimitri Moffat displaying their customary sleight of foot, while tighthead Rion Duvenhage proved to be equally effective in taking the game to the visitors.
Granted a scrum penalty, the Tygers then chose to run the ball, but the outside backs were deemed offside when they pursued a kick-ahead.
The hosts quickly shifted the ball to the right, where outside centre Timothy Allies’ inch-perfect grubber was picked up on the bounce by right wing Lourens van den Berg, who outpaced the defence to dive over in the corner. (HTS Drostdy 5 Tygerberg 0 – 6 minutes)
The visitors soon launched another attack of their own, scrumhalf Thandile Hoyi feeding lock Tiaan de Wit, only for him to find the local defence impenetrable, an impression that was reinforced when the Tygers turned over possession after Drostdy were caught in possession behind their line, a slip-up that cost them 60 metres.
After the energetic opening exchanges both sides started fumbling possession, Tygerberg finally putting together an attack that saw lock André Visser brought down just short of the tryline.
The Donkeys’ response started with a hopeful kick-ahead by flank Kirstein Kloppers. Two phases later Man of the Match Eksteen wormed his way over next to the corner flag. (HTS Drostdy 10 Tygerberg 0 – 18 minutes)
For all their tenacious tackling, the hosts missed the one that really counted as visiting full-back Tiaan Henecke outthought, then outpaced the cover defence for a brilliant try. (HTS Drostdy 10 Tygerberg 5 – 21 minutes)
The effectiveness of the Donkeys’ attacking style was forcing Tygerberg to run across the field rather than forward and more fine running by Van den Berg, followed by a penalty, took the hosts to within striking distance of the visitors’ line.
Tygerberg did manage to relieve the pressure, but soon found themselves scrambling again as the hosts moved the ball down the right at lightning speed, wing Jaun Witbooi and Moffat exchanging passes before the latter sprinted clear from twenty metres out to dot down in the corner in the last action of the first stanza. Half time : HTS Drostdy 15 Tygerberg 5.
It took fine covering by home full-back Dodi Rudolph to keep the Tygers at bay after the restart, but the Parow team’s use of long-cross-field passes was, if anything, costing them momentum. To their further frustration Moffat’s line kicking was outstanding and the defensive rampart seemed unshakeable.
However, a great sniping break by outside centre Ettiene Spies did create an opening, which resulted in De Wit barging his way over at the posts, leaving Henecke with a simple conversion. (HTS Drostdy 15 Tygerberg 12 – 47 minutes)
Handling was increasingly proving problematic in the icy conditions and it hardly came as a surprise that the next score came from a delightful jinking solo run by Allies, who left several would-be tacklers in his wake on his way to scoring midway out. Eksteen converted. (HTS Drostdy 22 Tygerberg 12 – 57 minutes)
Tygerberg right wing Maxwell Osborne had the visiting supporters on their feet with a fine run down the wing, but was stopped in his tracks by Witbooi. The Donkeys counterattacked, fierce driving by the pack enabling lock (and captain on the day) Christiaan Radyn to force his way over. (HTS Drostdy 27 Tygerberg 12 – 65 minutes)
Most sides would have just resigned themselves to defeat at this stage, given Fortress Trappespark’s reputation, but the visitors, to their credit, attacked fiercely, the forwards setting up a stable attacking platform from which Spies darted through near the uprights. Henecke’s conversion ended the game. Final score : HTS Drostdy 27 Tygerberg 19.
Perhaps the most striking point on the day was the fact that the Drostdy Under 16 side managed to beat Tygerberg 20-14, despite their being without twelve players who were under a Boland Grant Khomo player embargo.