Out in the fields.
Porterville (in maroon) win clean line-out ball against Union High
in the sunset game at their festival. (photo: Lyzanne Janse van Rensburg) 

If last year’s OK Grocer Porterville Sports Festival was stunning, then this year’s version came pretty close to delivering a knock-out punch.

Local high school headmaster Willem Engelbrecht, sports organizer Heini Redelinghuys and their impressive support team kept the food and cold-drinks flowing throughout the Friday and Saturday while, after dark, the potjie-cookers, marshaled by the irrepressible Burgers, and the after-hours bar ensured that, mmm, high spirits prevailed.

The rugby on the Friday, largely involving Boishaai’s various age-group sides against a variety of luckless hopefuls, whetted the appetite for the climactic menu on Saturday afternoon, one obvious observation being that all the Brug Street sides are already in peak physical condition, disposing of their opponents mercilessly.

But, it’s the 1st XV games that you want to know about, so let’s get started.

Brackenfell (0) 17 Namaqualand (0) 0

The lunchtime game between Brackenfell and Namaqualand started with the highly-motivated Springbok lads tearing into the Brakke, but lost its shape as the half wore on.

Corné Kannemeyer’s change-over chat inspired the Brakke, experienced no. 8 Amil van Heerden, the Man of the Match, breaking the deadlock with the first of his two tries early in the second period. Reserve back Walter Brown also nabbed a try as the northern suburbs side cantered home relatively comfortably, 17-0.

Punt (3) 3 Upington (7) 12

The Mossel Bay team played above themselves to restrict the Uppies to a narrow margin of victory.

The boys in orange attacked relentlessly via the forwards with tall 2014 SA Schools cap Cobus Wiese inspirational at flank, but could make little headway against the resolute Sharks, for whom pivot Walter Baartman opened the score.

Unfortunately, even the crowd’s vociferous encouragement, Punt just could not hold on, eventually succumbing to tries by full-back Benna Nieuwoudt and front-ranker Willrich Delie.

Dirkie Uys (7) 29 Langenhoven High (3) 15

These two very evenly-matched sides produced a highly entertaining display of non-stop running rugby.

The initial exchanges were dominated by the Tiere flyhalf Jayden Markus, the Man of the Matcvh, whose try plus conversion ensured his side’s lead at water-time.

Pieter Franklin’s young Dasse outfit weren’t about to lie down and the lead changed hands several times during the high-intensity second half.

Ultimately, two tries by outside centre Eddie Jones clinched the game for the Moorreesburgers, while his counterpart Darryl Prins, who also contributed ten points, was the most polished player in the Riversdale team.

Tygerberg (26) 52 Piketberg (0) 3

Hell-bent on erasing memories of their defeat against Hugenote, Tygerberg vented their not inconsiderable wrath on a Piketberg side which is rebuilding after their stellar start to 2014.

It didn’t take long for left-wing Lucian Diergaard to round the defence for the first try and another seven, scored by Man of the Match flanker Uwe Geissler (2), no. 8 Darren Adams (2), outside centre Tyron Scholtz, tighthead Hanré Jooste and full-back Matt Burke followed at regular intervals.

The Tygers were back to their best, the long passes going to hand with satisfying regularity. Flyhalf Marco Stassen’s six conversions also represented a welcome improvement.

Porterville (7) 20 Union High (12) 12

Another thriller saw the local Bulle coming from behind to see off the most popular group of lads at the festival, the wonderful young men of Union High.

Tries by flyhalf Jono Crankshaw and right wing flyer Kwezi Ansah gave the Graaffies gents a narrow half-time lead, but a stirring comeback by the locals, under the guidance of coaches Cobus Louw and Callie Steenkamp, crowned with a pack try, credited to no.8 Bernard van Deventer, put them out of reach ten minutes from time.

Sure, local full-back and Man of the Match Glenbrey Fortune contributed the other thirteen points via a try and some accurate tee-work, but this was a team success for which the Portervillains have been waiting patiently for quite a while.

Paarl Boys’ High (18) 39 Framesby (3) 3

One could only pity those spectators who had called it a day before the main game kicked off.

All thoughts of early season cobwebs among the locals quickly disappeared after the first ten minutes, during which Framesby scrumhalf Wayne Moss and Boishaai full-back Jeanluc Cilliers traded penalties.

The presence of two 2014 WP Craven Week caps – lock lock Ruben de Villiers and loosehead Wikus Groenewald – up front helped solidify a powerhouse pack in which young lock Salmaan Moerat and tireless no.8 Khanya Ncusane stood out.

Such were the polished distribution skills of half-backs Bradley Thain and Rayhann Lombaard that they were rendered almost invisible, given the dazzling running of a backline which boasts inventive centres in Jan-Louis la Grange and Manny Rass and two lethal finishers, Tyreeq February and tiny dynamo Elester Becker, outside them.

Space prevents a try-by-try analysis, but they went to February (2), Becker, Moerat, Cilliers and a penalty try, Cilliers converting last three in addition to his penalty.

This was a sublime warning to those doomsayers rash enough even to contemplate a WP Premier A hierarchy in which the Erasmus-Wolfaardt shock troops occupy a minor placing.

Don’t take my word for it, see them for yourself. I doubt you’ll disagree.

And so, the curtain came down on an uplifting rugby extravaganza, one that will be remembered for new friendships, superb hospitality and plenty of very tired bodies.




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