LOW TEMPERATURES, HIGH SCORES
Aerial ballet ! Players from Swartland (left) and Hottentots Holland (right)
contest possession in their match during TSRF 2018. Both sides have
midweek fixtures during the next fortnight. (photo: Axnshots)
Those of you who were lucky enough to attend the Craven and Academy Weeks will have experienced the freezing weather that gripped the bottom end of South Africa towards the end of last week.
Well, that wasn’t all the annual Swartland Winter Festival shared with the youth weeks, with high scores proving to be regrettably common, one of the unavoidable consequences of having to draw up the match schedule in advance.
In the face of these problems and that nightmare of festival organizers everywhere – late withdrawals – local point-man Bertie Gerber managed not only to put together a very appealing programme, but to retain his sense of humour throughout.
The “foreign” contingent comprised the usual suspects: Pate’s and Manchester Grammar Schools from England and Volkskool, Gill College and Despatch from the Eastern Cape.
Thursday 12 July 2018
Vredenburg (5) 10 Gill College (8) 27
Vredenburg drew first blood in the early match against Somerset East’s Gill College, right wing Ryan Haupt dotting down, but the visitors gradually took control of proceedings, courtesy largely of two fine tries by outside centre Fergill Present to the extent that, by the time ‘Burg lock Dian Moag scored towards the end, victory had already been sealed.
Strand (14) 33 Volkskool (0) 8
The Helderberg side has blown uncomfortably hot and cold this campaign so it was encouraging to see them produce a very workmanlike performance to beat their opponents from Graaff-Reinet.
The Eastern Cape side found themselves 28-0 down before they managed to get on the scoreboard, but two-try Strand centre Gershon September made sure that this proved to be a case of too little, too late.
Bellville (19) 26 Despatch (12) 19
Bellville, who have been enjoying an impressive 2018, were made to battle to overcome a very feisty Despatch team, who actually opened the score via Man of the Match, right wing Damian Hills.
Fortunately for the northern suburbs side, scrumhalf Aldrin Otto filled in capably for injured pivot Deuvajio Solomons, his three conversions proving the difference.
Tygerberg (7) 26 Worcester Gym (0) 0
Try as they might, Sole Willemse’s charges couldn’t stop the Tygers, who cantered home, thanks to four tries, the pick of which saw burly loosehead Raydon Phillips bustle his way through a bemused defence.
Schoonspruit (0) 21 DF Malan (26) 33
The undisputed match of the day saw the very well-drilled DF Malan team forced to pull out all the stops before beating fellow festival-first-timers Schoonspruit.
Two tries by no.8 Ulrich van Tonder and the cultured kicking boot of Damian Oosthuizen, playing at full-back for once, built up a seemingly insurmountable lead, only for lively tighthead Keanu Pieters to cross their line twice to set up an interesting finish.
Durbanville (28) 68 Piketberg (0) 0
The brave lads of the White Ship insisted on accepting this fixture and were gentlemanly enough to express their gratitude to all concerned afterwards, but the result must have constituted a serious dent in their confidence going forward.
Three tries by speedy left wing Will Fortuin helped put the Beez well ahead by the change-over, after which several of the usual suspects (centres Dennian du Toit and Xander van der Westhuizen and flank Vince van Dyk) cemented a runaway win, which included a penalty try.
The star of the show was flyhalf Anton Esterhuizen, who converted seven out of eight attempts, which included several efforts from both touchlines.
Swartland (15) 49 Pate’s Grammar (7) 14
Having seen their B team destroyed 56-7 by WP third-tier side President earlier in the afternoon obviously didn’t serve as enough of a warning to the senior Pate’s team, although they were still very much in the game at 14-15 down five minutes into the second half.
However, the last twenty five minutes saw the Rockies register six unanswered tries – only two of which were goaled – to canter home in the gathering gloom.
Saturday 14 July 2018
The clear sky on Saturday morning wasn’t all good news as that meant the temperature was even lower – about 4 degrees twenty kilometres outside Malmesbury – but fortunately it warmed up to ensure a very pleasant day’s rugby.
With the Eastern Cape sides wanting to hit the road home as soon as possible, play started at 8:30 on both the A and C fields.
DF Malan (14) 26 Despatch (0) 5
Unfortunately I was unable to watch this game, but was reliably informed that DF scrum-half Jean-Louis Burger stole the show with two tries for the northern suburbs side.
Strand (19) 24 Gill College (14) 17
Strand got the ball rolling on the main field, but found the going much tougher than they might have expected as Gill picked up where they left off against Vredenburg on Thursday, only conceding the lead to Kieron van der Merwe’s boys just before the break.
A penalty by the visiting flyhalf Jade Latola early in the second period ensured a tight finish, but a try on the final whistle by the Helderbergers’ centre Gershon September clinched their second victory of the festival.
Brackenfell (14) 33 Volkskool (5) 19
Brakkies inside centre Jade-Lee Andreas saw his side comfortably home single-handedly with three excellent tries, to which Volkies right wing Sherwin van Staden replied with two of his own.
The high point of the game was a 35 metre dash to the tryline by hardworking Brackenfell lock George Olivier, which earned him the Man of the Match award.
Durbanville (21) 52 Pate’s Grammar (5) 5
The Durbeez continued to boost their statistics for the season with another dominant performance, particularly by the fast men, which meant that the spectators were kept royally entertained.
Centre Xander van der Westhuizen dotted down twice, but it was most encouraging to see no.8 André Bester, who has missed much of the season, back in the thick of things. Not to be upstaged, flyhalf Anton Esterhuizen notched another six conversions out of seven attempts.
Tygerberg (12) 29 Piketberg (5) 5
Although a Dewald Lambrechts try for the White Ship pegged them back to a 12-5 half-time lead, the Tygers never looked like losing this one after an early try by centre John-Henry Pienaar.
The reintroduction of scrumhalf Thandi Hoyi and the arrival of no.8 Edja de Meyer, fresh from his WP duties at the Academy week, merely reinforced this as the Parow side trotted happily home.
Bellville (0) 19 Hopefield (0) 6
The victors might not have known much about their opponents going into this game, but they definitely do now.
The Bolanders put on a typically determined display and were always in the hunt, thanks to two Nathan Engelbrecht penalties, until a late try by the Lions’ flank Stefan van der Merwe, converted by flyhalf Deuvajio Solomons, put them out of reach.
Schoonspruit (28) 52 Manchester Grammar (0) 7
Proceedings here started with the tourists presenting the Schoonies with a set of sponsored rugby jerseys, a gesture warmly appreciated by Vos de Jager’s lads.
The game that followed was extraordinary in that the Malmesbury side was totally outclassed in all the set phases, but defended like Trojans, catching their opponents on the wrong foot enough to run in eight memorable tries, two each by right wing Manuel Geduld and flyhalf Alberto Damon, who also added five conversions. Boland Craven Week full-back Connor Mahoney also arrived in time for the game and scored his eighteenth try of the season.
Heaven only knows what the tourists’ coaches might have been able to say to their players after the game, especially after having seen their reserve side thumped 51-12 by Vredenburg !
Swartland (31) 52 Labori (0) 21
A lot of local folk must be wondering when the Rockies are actually going to give a full 60- or 70-minute performance. On Thursday they woke after half-time, managing six tries, this time they were trundling along with a 45-0 lead midway through the second half, at which point the Vikings hit back with three rapid-fire tries before full-back Draigh Schierhout rounded things off towards the end.
There were excellent performances by hooker Hanru Pool and centre Reinhald Vogt, each of whom crossed the tryline twice, but the mini-slump, which saw Labori full-back Keenan Paul register two five-pointers, must be a cause for some concern.
A successful few days that not even the weather could spoil will doubtless have contributed to maintaining the positive profile this pleasant event enjoys.