IMG 2896

Way to go, KB !  Bishops and WP Academy Week hooker Keagan Blanckenberg
dives over for one of his side’s five unconverted tries in their 27-25 away
defeat to Stellenberg on Saturday 13 July 2019.  (photo: Madison Beley)


Playing only their third home match of the season, Paarl Gym were made to fight all the way before beating a determined Rondebosch side 47-26 on Saturday 13 July 2019.

A perfect winter’s day really deserved better as both sides made too many errors for this to be regarded as a classic.  Much of the disruption could be put down to a raft of injuries, Bosch having to make one major adjustment prior to the day, while Gym lost several players during the match, in one case a replacement himself having to be replaced.

Although they trailed 4-7 in the try stakes, the visitors deserve much praise for the way they fought back from 7-35 down to cross the line three times in a frenetic final ten minutes. 

Rondebosch showed their intent from the kick-off, turning over Pierich Siebert’s clean take, but conceded a penalty in the process, allowing Gym full-back Tiaan Swanepoel to find touch on his ten-metre line.

One of the hosts’ trademark rolling mauls saw the ball reach inside centre and captain Stephan du Toit, but possession was again turned over, allowing Bosch hooker Tyler Fisher and loosehead Jay Reiback to launch a forward drive.

Although a speculative kick-ahead was fielded by Gym, Bosch were awarded a penalty from which flyhalf Conor van Eden - forced to switch to the position due to a shoulder injury at practice to regular pivot Kian Davis - pushed just wide from 45 metres. 

Gym finally had the chance to show their paces when the ball was quickly shuttled out to right wing Curwin Gertse.  When he was brought down, the attack was shifted to the left, the move ending with the visitors conceding a penalty.  The home pack was unstoppable from the resulting five-metre line-out, hooker Liam Compion emerging with the ball for the first of his three tries.  Flyhalf Jandré Burger converted.  (Paarl Gym 7 Rondebosch 0 - 12 minutes)

The hooker then claimed the restart, but an aimless kick upfield allowed Van Eden to return play to the halfway line.  Gym swung the ball wide from the line-out, but a knock-on handed possession to Bosch, who could make no headway against the hosts’ defensive line.

When the visitors were blown up for going over the ball in a ruck, Swanepoel found touch eight metres from their line, only for a forward pass to ruin a promising movement.

The inability of the scrums to settle was rubbing off on the backs as an exchange of pointless kicks ensued.  However, when Rondebosch turned over the ball in their 22, Gym couldn’t make it count, the touchline getting the better of the attackers.

Lukhanyo Vokozela, the impressive Rondebosch Craven Week prop playing flank on the day, showed his skills with a determined charge, the result being a penalty which Van Eden put into touch on the halfway line.

A skew throw-in didn’t help Gym’s cause, but they regained possession, allowing Gertse to threaten twice in quick succession.  From the rolling maul following the second of these breaks, Compion was driven over the line for his second try, which Burger also converted.  (Paarl Gym 14 Rondebosch 0 - 29 minutes)

Despite an ineffectual Burger clearance from the restart, Siebert and Gym no. 8 Juan Wilson made good ground, but Bosch managed to steal possession.  Some optimistic but poorly-directed kicking yielded no positive results, although Gym lock Reynhardt Crous made good ground, only for his packmates to be penalised for holding on.

Van Eden’s kick put Bosch on the attack inside the Gym 22, but, despite the visitors’ being awarded another  penalty and more powerful running by Vokozela, the home defence held out and ended the half by putting a penalty of their own safely into touch.  Half-time: Paarl Gym 14 Rondebosch 0. 

The visitors’ scrumhalf Ishma-eel Safodien fielded the kick-off when play resumed, but his kick found the Gym defence willing to counterattack, only a knock-on in the latter stages preventing what looked certain to be a try.

Although Vokozela made more good ground, when Bosch were awarded a penalty, Gym stole the ball at the line-out and, after a penalty for a tip-tackle, the ball found its way to powerful loosehead Gerhard van Niekerk, who forced his way over for Gym’s third try.  Burger added the extras.  (Paarl Gym 21 Rondebosch 0 - 39 minutes)

More inaccurate kicking saw Swanepoel feed his forwards, Man of the Match Van Niekerk breaking clear through the midfield.  The ball was quickly moved to the left where Siebert was on hand to dot down midway out.  Burger maintained his 100% success rate on the day.  (Paarl Gym 28 Rondebosch 0 - 44 minutes)

Great interplay between scrumhalf Bobby Alexander and Gertse ended with the latter penalised for not releasing the ball barely a metre from the Bosch tryline.  The Bosch pack took the opportunity to drive play upfield, eventually setting up a five-metre line-out from a penalty. 

For four minutes the home defence stood firm, but at last the visitors’ flank Matthew Cohen scored to open his side’s account.  Van Eden converted.  (Paarl Gym 28 Rondebosch 7 - 56 minutes)

The next fourteen minutes were dizzying, to put it mildly, as both sides attacked with determination, while the defences stood firm and counterattacked at every opportunity.  In fact, what had been a relatively uninteresting first 55 minutes, suddenly saw the addition of a further six tries before full-time was blown !

In the wake of Cohen’s try, both sides upped the ante, but poor handling initially ruined any chance either side had of increasing their tally.

However, Gym were the first to score, Du Toit’s pass to replacement wing Privaan Isaacs ending up in Alexander’s hands for Gym’s fifth converted try.  (Paarl Gym 35 Rondebosch 7 - 60 minutes) 

The visitors wasted no time in responding, full-back Dalvon Blood scything through the entire Gym side on a brilliant right-to-left diagonal run to score.  Van Eden converted.  (Paarl Gym 35 Rondebosch 14 - 62 minutes)

Barely two minutes later, Gym came achingly close in the left-hand corner, but, with the help of a penalty, the ball was shuttled to Isaacs to score his side’s sixth converted try.  (Paarl Gym 42 Rondebosch 14 - 64 minutes)

Making something of a mockery of Gym’s reputation for finishing strongly, Bosch then snatched a loose Gym pass, Van Eden sending replacement threequarter Cameron van Rensburg in for a try which the pivot duly goaled.  (Paarl Gym 42 Rondebosch 21 - 65 minutes)

Gym kept their highly appreciative supporters glued to their seats, Compion registering his hat-trick with his side’s only unconverted try.  (Paarl Gym 47 Rondebosch 21 - 68 minutes)

Another wayward pass by the home team presented a gilt-edged opportunity to Bosch, right wing Jake Tredoux benefitting this time from the hosts’ largesse.  The rushed conversion was unsuccessful, but it would hardly have affected the result much as the final whistle sounded immediately afterwards.  Final score : Paarl Gym 47 Rondebosch 26.

Not a game for the purists, perhaps, but one whose entertaining last quarter will hopefully remain longer in the spectators’ memory than the rather uninspiring first 55 minutes.

Bosch can be quite pleased with their efforts, particularly their closing surge.  The forwards were never outclassed, while the backline stuck to its work manfully.

Gym’s major dislocation came in their being forced to play try-scoring machine Stravino Jacobs at outside centre, where he had virtually no chance to thrill onlookers with his exhilarating speed.  The work of the front five was most impressive and most of the backline can look back on this game fondly.

A great day in fine company, enhanced by a lovely spirit of good sportsmanship.  One couldn’t really ask for more.



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