The end to the absorbing Rondebosch-Bishops match was thrilling as Rondebosch scored a brilliant try to win 15-14.
The try was delightful and there was an end to the match that made your heart swell with pride for the game, that traditional fixture and two Rondebosch boys.
We should start at the end.
With three minutes to go Bishops led 14-10. Rondebosch were down on the Bishops 22 on the Rondebosch right. The ball came back to Rondebosch and flyhalf Robbie Davis lofted a high diagonal kick to the far left. The ball bounced high, fullback Mike Mavovana waited for the ball to come down, caught the ball and was over in the corner.
But still it was not the end.
Bishops attacked on their left and Rondebosch were penalised. Bishops tapped and sought the try. They did not score but Rondebosch were not back 10 metres and so Bishops had another chance and this time opted to kick at goal. The Bishops scrumhalf Harry Makin took the kick and the ball soared high – higher than the uprights. Those whose judgement counted judged it not to be over. The final whistle went and Rondebosch players rushed arms in the air down to meet their school fellows who charged off the stand and onto the filed.
Two of the Rondebosch team did not join the stampede down the field. James van Rensburg, the Rondebosch scrumhalf went to Makin, his opponent for 70 minutes, shook his hand and clearly commiserated with him and Garth Shenker, the Rondebosch captain, came over and did in like manner. It was a wonderful moment that those two schools should cherish forever. Even in the moment of ecstasy those two Rondebosch boys behaved as sportsmen always should.
Just one more point about the crowd – there were more schoolboys at the match than there were at the Test down the road when the scholars allotment had hardly a soul. And at the Rondebosch-Bishops match nobody had to make up entertainment for themselves, like a Mexican wave, because the game took all their interest.
As expected Bishops played wide and virtually never kicked while Rondebosch played closer and kicked occasionally. Bishops enjoyed the majority of possession, despite a dysfunctional line-out, but Rondebosch scored first and it took Bishops 50 minutes to get a lead.
Rondebosch, playing with the wind, had the lead after only three minutes. From a scrum well in from the left touchline, scrumhalf Van Rensburg went right but No.8 Zake Sallie fed left and Mavovana raced ahead and across field. Just at the touchline he slung the ball infield. It reacted the feet of Dane Stevens who left-footed it hard down field. The speedy wing chased after the ball, outpaced two defenders, and accepted the ball’s kind bounce to score at the posts. 7-0.
Rondebosch came close to scoring on a few occasions. But the Bishops defence held, once tackling Cal Smid out right at the corner flag. Bishops won the subsequent line-out and ran from well behind their own goal-line.
Bishops had their moments, opting to kick for touch from a penalty slap in front of the Rondebosch posts. They also looked about to score when Labelo Scott and Seb Prentice attacked down the left.
Half-time came with Rondebosch still leading 7-0.
Rondebosch started the second half with zestful attacking but Bishops got down into their 22. From a scrum on the left they had attempts at attack till big lock Luke Viljoen pushed two Rondebosch defenders aside and strode over the try under the posts. 7-7 after 42 minutes.
After a strong run by Tristan Hermans on the right wing, Bishops went left and Prentice seemed sure to score but two Rondebosch defenders held him up over the line. Five-metre scrum to Bishops on their left.
Bishops went right. Flyhalf James Macdonald shaped to pass to his brother Rob as Rob cut back as if for a scissors but instead James gave to Prentice on his inside and Prentice raced over for a try under the posts. 14-7 to Bishops after 51 minutes.
Mavovana had an astonishing 70-metre run down the field to set Rondebosch on the attack and a penalty by replacement Sam Cragg brought them to 14-10 after 54 minutes.
Both sides gave everything they had to the game till Robbie Davis’s splendid kick and Mavovana’s try and the penalty kick by Makin and the final whistle and two Rondebosch boys who gladdened an old man’s heart.
Tries: Dane Stevens, Mike Mavovana
Con: Blake van der Bijl
Pen: Sam Cragg
Tries: Like Viljoen, Seb Prentice
Cons: Harry Makin
Rondebosch: 15 Mike Mavovana, 14 Amani Minani, 13 DJ Falconer, 12 Van der Bijl Blake, 11 Dane Stevens, 10 Robbie Davis, 9 James van Rensburg, 8 Zaka Sallie, 7 Cal Smid, 6 Garth Shenker (captain), 5 Hylton Goatley, 4 Matthew Grobler, 3 Chulumanco Mputing, 2 Devon Arendse, 1 Matthew Horrigan
Replacements: 16 Suhaib Ajmoodien, 17 Tomasz de Rosenwerth, 18 Braden Tredoux, 19 Cheyne Robertson, 20 Sam Cragg, 21 Ross Roode, 22 Keegan Collier, 23 Kyle Fredericks
Bishops: 15 Brandon van der Westhuizen, 14 Tristan Hermans, 13 Labelo Scott, 12 Rob Macdonald, 11 Seb Prentice, 10 James Macdonald, 9 Harry Makin, 8 Jean Pienaar (captain), 7 Byron Cranswick, 6 Cullum Diem, 5 Luke Viljoen, 4 Christian Stehlik, 3 Alasdair Jewson, 2 Jason Hofmeyr, 1 Zico Oaker
Reserves: Clyde de Beer, Ghaalieb Kenny, JP Smith, Matt Norton, Marcus Knight, Daniel van der Valk, Aydan Labuschagne, Rob Lancefield
Referee: Egon Seconds