It is always an exciting opportunity to run out at Kings Park for a fixture, but what was billed as a mouth-watering early season affair didn’t quite live up to its billing. It was indeed a clash of two styles; the expansive game versus the highly structured one. Disappointingly in the end for DHS and the neutrals, it was Hilton who ran out victors by 10 points to 6, with their combative defensive performance and dominant kick and chase game.
DHS started poorly with a lot of handling errors that kept them from gaining any momentum in the game. With the game being played as running time instead of playing time due to the time restrictions at Kings Park, it was clear that Hilton had come to try and disrupt DHS from playing their continuity based game. They did this well by good kick and chase lines and being very competitive at the breakdown. It was also clear that they intended to make the game very stop start by forcing untimely breaks at every possible opportunity allowing the clock to wind down and break any momentum.
The game, however, turned for the worst for DHS when in the 20th minute, DHS lock Celimpilo Gumede was issued with a red card for an alleged punch thrown. This was going to make the task even greater for the “Horseflies”.
Hilton managed to gain the necessary territorial advantages and from two penalties were able to score two driving tries, failing to convert both.
After the break, DHS looked by far the more threatening team and started to expose the holes in behind the defence. Some cleverly placed kicks from scrum-half Sanele Nohamba nearly resulted in a few tries but the bounce of the ball just eluded the DHS team on the day. The scrumhalf slotted two magnificent penalties in the blustering wind to keep DHS within a score of Hilton. Although having the opportunity to win the game at the end, DHS lacked the composure needed to see the game through and were unable to score when being in good positions.
The positives for the DHS team has to be their resolute defence, which for the greater part of the game operated with a man less and were never threatened to concede from open play. The fact that the team rallied to nearly beat the Hilton side with 14 men speaks volumes of their resolve and character. Although a loss, there were clear signs that this team has something special but will need to find greater consistency in their play if they are to reach their potential.
1st XV Rugby Coach/Head of Rugby
Thanks to Neville Bailey for the photographs.