Warning: Big guy on the rampage ! Bishops lock Luke Viljoen hurdles over a Hilton defender in the hosts' 35-31
victory over Hilton on Saturday 4 July 2016, day two of the ISRF, held at Bishops. (photo: Thys Lombard)
Despite heavy overnight rain, the skies were clear on Wednesday 6 July, the third and final day of the Independent Schools Rugby Festival, held at Bishops.
The greatly-anticipated main game between Bishops and the indisputable form team of the festival, Kingswood, provided a fitting climax as both teams enjoyed periods of ascendancy, but were also called upon to pull out all the stops in defence.
The local backline seemed to struggle to gel perfectly, which resulted in them having to cross over on equal terms despite having had the lion’s share of possession in the first half.
The second half saw a distinct change in fortunes as the Grahamstown side used their weight advantage to wear their opponents down. The resultant increase in possession was put to such good use that many of the large crowd would probably concede that the margin of victory could have been higher.
The outstanding players on each side were the two number 8s, Jean Pienaar, the Bishops captain, and his wrecking-ball opponent Jimmy Sholto-Douglas.
Although it is very difficult to pick out the try of the game, home supporters would probably opt for the scything run by flyhalf James Macdonald, while Athi Halom’s stunning try almost surpassed Mrwetyana’s second against Michaelhouse on Saturday.
Bishops (17) 24 (Tries: 10 James Macdonald, 2 Jason Hofmeyr, 15 Brandon van der Westhuizen, 9 Harry Makin; Conversions: Makin (2))
Kingswood (17) 34 (Tries: 7 Ollie Losaba, 12 Siba Mzanywa, 5 Mark Mutuku, 11 Esona Mrwetyana, 15 Athi Halom; Conversions: 10 Weston Potgieter (3); Penalty: Potgieter)
Kearsney may well have dominated the scoresheet against St David’s, but the Inanda side did their supporters proud with a commendably workmanlike performance.
The highlight of a game which produced nine tries ? The final act of the game, the rapturously welcomed conversion by Kearsney loosehead Greg van Noordwyk !
Kearsney (19) 52 (Tries: 6 Dan Cherry, 4 Ryan le Warne, 2 Josh Hagerman, 21 Braden Albertse, 13 Matt Watts, 15 Kyle Murch, 22 Matthew Blair, 17 Rob Lawrence; Conversions: 12 Cameron Craze (3), 11 James Sutherland, 1 Greg van Noordwyk)
St David’s (7) 7 (Try: 21 Kieran Wrightson; Conversion: 13 Liam Wrightson)
Michaelhouse held all the aces against plucky Penryn, revelling in their almost uninterrupted stream of possession to cross their opponents’ line twelve times, while Will Glassock and Liam England piled on the agony from the tee.
Michaelhouse (31) 78 (Tries: 6 Nick Kershaw (2), 10 Will Glassock (2), 21 Liam England (2), 2 Armin Prinsloo (2), 4 Grant Haynes, 11 Aphiwe Mthalane, 5 Oliver Calvert-Evers, 14 Tom Rorich; Conversions: Glassock (6), England (3))
Penryn (0) 7 (Try: 8 Sethembile Amabonsela; Conversion: 10 Kyle Hay)
As if their ten tries weren’t sufficient punishment for their visibly tiring Boksburg opponents, St Andrew’s scrumhalf Mark le Riche heaped misery on them – and kept the scoreboard operator wide awake – by converting all but one of their tries.
St Andrew’s School (Bfn) (42) 68 (Tries: 9 Jacques de Bruyn (3), 14 Sean Newberry (2), 11 Sipho Malewa, 15 Ryan Smith, 5 Stoffel de Lange, 13 Gino Spano, 16 Michael Maree; Conversions: 9 Mark le Riche (9))
CBC Boksburg (0) 7 (Try: 8 Brandon Shaw; Conversion: 10 Matthew Gouveia)
St Andrew’s College (Gtn) 17
St Alban’s 35
St Charles 19
Somerset College 7
St Stithian’s 52
Reddam House 0
So a wonderful occasion came to an end. The camaraderie shown by the players was exemplary, with teams never failing to applaud each other from the field at the end of the game. The spectators had a fine time, too: renewing old friendships, making new ones and admiring how well the new generation flew the flags for their alma maters.
Congratulations are due to Gus Firth and his organizing committee, especially groundsman (perhaps that should be “greenkeeper”) Don Murray for providing such superb playing surfaces.