Never say die! Boland Landbou left wing Erik Lambrecht accelerates through a tackle during his
team’s 64-15 romp against Bellville on Saturday 6 May 2017. (photo: Marlize Jordaan)
Framesby from Port Elizabeth came back from eleven points down to deservedly beat hosts Boland Landbou 19-16 on the Farm on Saturday 13 May 2017.
The greatest pity was that a magnificent clear, warm winter day had to be spoiled by a very ordinary display by the locals, who contributed in no small measure to their own demise with a plethora of turned over possession and an unfortunately wide variety of other silly errors.
However, this should in no way detract from the visitors’ victory. Their tight marking shut down the Landbou backline before it got a chance to move, while the combined efforts of their forwards, who operated closely as a unit throughout, further disrupted any thoughts the home side might have had of establishing any sort of rhythm.
The Farmers’ young flyhalf Darren Hendricks has shot to prominence in recent weeks, but he was rendered largely anonymous by the more complete performance of his experienced opposite number, Riaan van Rensburg, whose reading of the game was crucial part of his team’s success.
The opening exchanges were an almost perfect indication of how the game would pan out.
Landbou drove hard from the kick-off – Framesby relieved the immediate threat with a long kick – the Farmers lost possession – the visitors squandered an attacking position by kicking ahead into the in-goal area – but won the ball from the 22 metre kick – turned it over – which the hosts promptly held onto in a ruck, conceding a penalty.
Three minutes of frenzied to-and-fro activity with nothing positive to report.
Things proceeded in much the same way as the hosts conceded another ruck penalty, but Landbou full-back Luther McKay made good use of a long pass shortly afterwards, finding touch 38 metres from his line.
Framesby hooker Vian Wolmarans announced his presence and intentions with a powerful surge from the line-out, but the home defence stood firm and robbed the nuggety no. 2.
Just when it seemed like this loose play was going to last forever, Boland’s outside centre Sebastian de Klerk suddenly emerged from a maul, ball in hand, to dash all of forty metres to score the opening try. (Boland Landbou 5 Framesby 0 – 7 minutes)
The long restart found its way to the ever-willing Landbou left wing Erik Lambrecht, but he overcooked his chip ahead, leaving McKay with too much to do.
Further evidence that the home side was starting to gain self-confidence came when scrumhalf Gavin Mills stole botched line-out ball and used a neat kick ahead to set up a ruck at which Framesby were penalised for going offside.
Unfortunately, frustration continued to dog the hosts when they knocked on the possession gained from the resultant attacking line-out.
The visitors’ inside centre and captain Julian Kleyn, the Man of the Match, then broke the hosts’ line for a determined forty metre run down the midfield, only for the home side to counterattack after gaining turn-over ball.
Although they were forced into touch, lock Schalk Bezuidenhout maintained his side’s momentum, which eventually earned them a scrum at which Framesby were again ruled offside. Hendricks goaled the penalty. (Boland Landbou 8 Framesby 0 – 15 minutes)
More good work by Wolmarans was then ruined by another handling error before a set-piece infringement by the visitors enabled Hendricks to take play up to his ten-metre line and, when a speculative Mills stab-through was returned with interest, Lambrecht had the presence of mind to retain possession and run the ball out of defence.
All his good work came to naught when a sublime van Rensburg grubber rolled out ten metres from the home try line, but two lengthy clearances by Landbou right wing Duren Hoffman took play back into the Framesby half.
Things got a bit scrappy again as both sides knocked on after promising build-ups and Hendricks overcooked a kick ahead to such an extent that it ended up over the dead-ball line. The visitors drove forcefully after the 22-metre drop-out but found themselves penalised at a ruck. Hoffman stretched the lead from the tee. (Boland Landbou 11 Framesby 0 – 27 minutes)
The wing promptly nullified his good work by putting what might have been a kickable penalty into touch in goal while attempting to set up an attacking line-out. Although he atoned somewhat with a fine break, he was tackled into touch by the cover defence.
Next, it was a midfield mix-up that cost the Farmers dearly. A pass went astray, allowing Kleyn to kick the ball up to the hosts’ ten-metre line. When awarded a penalty, van Rensburg put the Eastern Cape side on the board from the tee. (Boland Landbou 11 Framesby 3 – 33 minutes)
Lateral running by the Boland backline served only to emphasise the defensive commitment of their guests, although dropping the ball when they regained possession did little to help their cause.
Fortunately, McKay and Hoffman combined to halt the Framesby attack, but van Rensburg was on target again when the locals were blown up for holding onto the ball on the ground. Half-time: Boland Landbou 11 Framesby 6.
The second half kick-off started with Landbou hell-bent on restoring their superiority, but they found full-back Lindsay Potgieter up to the task as he cleared coolly.
Local hopes were rekindled when a rare poor van Rensburg kick saw Lambrecht respond with a neat chip and chase. The wing’s endeavour briefly inspired the Farmers and Hoffman showed deft footwork before being tackled into touch twelve metres short of the Framesby line.
Another offside offence afforded Hendricks the opportunity to set up a line-out ten metres from the goal-line and a concerted effort by the home forwards bore fruit when hooker Tiaan Drotskie forced his way over. (Boland Landbou 16 Framesby 6 – 42 minutes)
Things finally seemed to be coming together for the boys in black as they returned to Framesby’s red zone, but lost possession when the ball was held up in a maul.
Lambrecht was again at the heart of a Boland attack and, when Framesby outside centre JP Greyling was caught, it required a cool head for van Rensburg to drive the hosts back into their own half.
The PE side gleefully capitalised on a Boland handling error, recycling the ball quickly and cleanly enough to give Potgieter a clear run in from fifteen metres. (Boland Landbou 16 Framesby 11 – 48 minutes)
Boland decided that the best form of defence was attacking, running the ball up after a wayward van Rensburg clearance, but again conceded possession when they were held up.
With their forwards dominating the tight loose, the visitors’ backs were trapped offside after a kick had taken them into the Boland 22 again. A great touch finder saw Landbou back on the front foot, but when flank Thys Kitshoff secured the put-in, a penalty for holding on the ground saw them on the retreat once again.
Not even a poor clearance by van Rensburg could be put to good use when Boland made another error, although Hendricks did put his side back into the Framesby half following a penalty for tackling a player without the ball.
Local flank Franco Venter took play deep into the visitors’ 22, his hard work leading to Mills setting up another five-metre line-out. Landbou lock and captain Herman le Roux took the ball cleanly, but poor retention allowed Framesby scrumhalf André Gerber to avert the immediate threat.
Undeterred, Landbou upped the pressure, Kitshoff making a great take from a line-out set up by Hendricks. Again, the ball went astray, but this time with dire consequences. Potgieter cleared and the visitors’ left wing Grayson Ditlow levelled the scores with a well-taken try in the corner. (Boland Landbou 16 Framesby 16 – 63 minutes)
An optimistic Landbou kick saw Framesby threaten in the corner, but they had to be content with an attacking scrum. A high tackle in the worst possible position – not to mention the timing – presented van Rensburg with a fairly easy three points, which he accepted to put his team in front for the first time. (Boland Landbou 16 Framesby 19 – 68 minutes)
The hosts attacked with purpose, an inside pass going to ground, but the script still had one twist left as the visitors were blown up, also for a high tackle. Hoffman could only look on in horror as his attempt from a central position forty metres out flew agonisingly wide.
Framesby’s joy was temporarily put on hold as the referee decided the drop-out should be taken. Van Rensburg put it into the stands and the celebrations began. Final score: Boland Landbou 16 Framesby 19.
The lads from the Windy City were good value for their win, if for no other reason because they made considerably fewer mistakes, but their constant in-your-face defence rattled Landbou to such an extent that they took their eye off the ball on too many occasions and paid the price.
The Farmers’ showing was disappointingly substandard, the smooth co-ordination that has characterised their earlier outings being noticeably absent. It will also not have escaped them that this was yet another game in which they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the dying stages.
Ironically, Lambrecht, whose preferred position is no.9, offered the one ray of hope on a cloudless day that suddenly turned very gloomy, while the second rowers and loose forwards tried their best to little effect.
Bottom line? Even the arrival of strugglers Wynberg next Saturday cannot be regarded as an easy game on the basis of this performance.