The cold, rainy weather normally associated with winter in the Cape Peninsula finally settled in on Thursday afternoon, resulting in generally low scores in the Boland and Western Province matches played ahead of the long weekend.
The feature game in Wellington saw hosts Hugenote put on a brave display against neighbours Boland Landbou before losing 15-17. A slightly wider winning margin might have been a fairer reflection as the Farm Lads adapted somewhat better to the persistent light drizzle, showing the fairly large crowd the value of the defensive lessons they had learned last week against Rondebosch.
Kicking off with the breeze at their backs, the visitors soon put pressure on the Blackies and were rewarded with a remarkable try in the fifth minute. Right wing Polla Theunissen knelt to field a wayward touch kick in the corner of the Hugenote 2-metre area, ducked under an attempted tackle and sped down the touchline and in behind the posts without a hand being laid on him. Flyhalf Jan Frylinck slotted the conversion and Landbou were 7-0 up.
Theunissen threatened again later in the half, only for the Hugenote pivot Damian Cloete to defuse the situation with a fine break. This effort gave the Blackies some impetus and fullback Anathi Ngesana ran a superb line to score midway out with two Landbou players on his back. Five minutes before the break scrumhalf Nelius Hauptfleisch gave the hosts an 8-7 lead with a penalty.
Using their superior weight and driving technique Landbou managed to force their way over the Hugenote line early in the second period, hooker Stewart Halvorsen being credited with the touchdown. Frylinck converted to put Boland ahead 14-8.
A period of pressure by the Blackies was successfully withstood by the men from Windmeul, who managed to force their way back into the hosts’ half against the elements. At this point Frylinck managed what ultimately proved to be the crucial points of the encounter when he slotted a dropped goal. It might not have been a particularly pretty one, but it put some crucial – if murky – daylight between the sides at 17-8.
Hugenote’s response was a breakaway try by flank Kevin Ceasar, who broke from a rolling maul some 24 metres from Landbou’s line to dive over untouched. Hauptfleisch upped the anxiety level all round with the conversion, leaving his side 15-17 behind with eleven minutes to go. However, there was to be no fairytale ending as the Farm lads played out time in the hosts’ half .
It would probably be fair to say that the choice of game plan won the day for Faffa Coetzee’s team. They opted to use the superb tactical kicking acumen of halfbacks Jan Frylinck and Sheldon Castle, who more than capably deputized for the injured Philip Molnar, to keep Hugenote on the back foot.
The Blackies, on the other hand, tried to maul their opponents backwards and then rely on the tricky footwork of flyhalf Damian Cloete to put Landbou under pressure. Unfortunately the locals lacked the size to do the former and the Landbou loosies were more than up to nullifying the latter.
The other Boland matches over the past few days showed a few surprises and low scores.
No.8 Ferdie Bothma’s fourth and fifth tries of the week – he dotted down three times in last Thursday’s 36-15 away win over Wesbank – helped Piketberg continue their highly successful run-in to next week’s Interschools against Porterville with a 22-3 home win over a Dirkie Uys side stricken with injuries and ‘flu. Porterville themselves struggled out at Ceres, having to be content with a 14-14 draw with Charlie Hofmeyr.
Bredasdorp beat Gansbaai Academy 31-0, Hopefield duly saw off visitors Vredenburg 13-5 and De Villiers Graaff recorded a surprise 12-10 home victory over Montana.
On Wednesday, when the weather was still fine, Vredendal annihilated Vredendal Secondary 70-0 and Augsburg Gym whacked Calvinia 47-13. Langeberg’s anticipated scoring spree against hosts Ashton Secondary never materialized; they had to be content with a slender 7-6 success.
In the matches played in the Western Province De Kuilen edged out Strand 11-10 in Kuils River on Thursday and Tygerberg’s Edwin Sass scored three tries as the Tiere defeated UK tourists Oakham School 24-15 on Wednesday.
Emotions ran high up in Oudtshoorn on Thursday as Oakdale plucked the Struisies’ feathers 27-18 in a match which saw SA Schools scrumhalf Percy Williams briefly hospitalised. A day earlier Outeniqua proved just a bit too strong for hosts Langenhoven Gym, winning 20-3.
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