Every now and then we are reminded why so much attention is given to derby's between age old foes. Saturday was one of those days. The yearly Pretoria Boys High vs Maritzburg College derby was hosted at Pretoria Boys High.
Pretoria Boys High's 1st XV is having its worst year in history only winning 2 out of 14 matches, and being criticized in every possible way by old boys and the general public. Maritzburg College also not experiencing their best year winning only winning 7 of this year's 16 matches. Both teams suffered heavy defeats the weekend before, Affies whipped Maritzburg College 59 - 7 and KES scoring 50 points in their victory against Pretoria Boys High (50 - 19).
Not much attention was given to this derby and the crowd was disappointing. But boy did they miss out on a wonderful day. The main match was played at pace with a lot of healthy passion.
Boys High scored first in the 3rd minute thanks to a early penalty. Maritzburg replied with their first penalty a few minutes later. Boys High scores the first try in the corner after 12 minutes to lead 8 - 3. After this Maritzburg College converted to see out the first half leading 9 - 8, Boys High missing an attempt at goal on the stroke of half time.
Both teams taking every opportunity to score in this tight match saw Boys High going back into the lead after another penalty conversion, 11 - 9. After 10 minutes in the second half Boys High scored their second try in the left hand corner but unfortunately missing the conversion. The home crowd starting to come alive tasting the victory after another penalty was converted giving them a lead of 19 - 9.
Maritzburg had other ideas and scored their first try, after a brilliant counter attack starting on their own try line. Again no luck with the conversion but now only trailing 14 - 19. With six minutes to go Maritzburg received another penalty and opted for a line out. They scored from the line out, 10 meters from the try line of Boys High, after some good work from their forwards. With the conversion good the two sides were separated by only two points. Maritzburg leading 21 - 19.
But the fat lady was still singing, Boys High striking back at the kick off with another penalty conversion. Now leading 22 - 21. And she kept on singing. With a stunning 45m penalty from a tight angle the full back of College cemented the moment and his name in the history of this wonderful derby. Snatching victory from the home side 24 - 22.
Although no favours was asked nor given by both teams, both teams stood together after this thrilling match and celebrated a truly special fixture. History, tradition, pride and passion was on display, not only at first team level but at every level.
If anybody questions these derbies attend one and you will be hooked. To all those criticizing Pretoria Boys High, maybe you will do it again after the Affies game next week, but today was a showcase of what kind of young men this school produces. Pretoria Boys High and Maritzburg College we thank you and salute you for the role you play in developing these fortunate boys.