DONKEYS' BACKS KEY TO VICTORY AGAINST HUGENOTE
In for the kill ! SACS centre Jordy Hop is unable to prevent Paul Roos lock Ben-Jason Dixon from
scoring in Saturday’s clash, won 38-34 by the Maroons, at the Markotter. (photo: Inus Grobler)
Visitors HTS Drostdy made better use of their chances to beat Hugenote 25-15 in Wellington on Saturday 4 June 2016.
It is a pity that the referee’s overzealous use of his whistle to a large extent deprived the fairly large crowd, who had turned out to bask in the lovely winter sun, of the anticipated free-flowing spectacle.
Hugenote claimed the kick-off, sending it straight back upfield, where the Donkeys knocked on ten metres inside their half. A penalty from the ensuing scrum gave the Blackies’ flyhalf Renaldo Fransman an opportunity to open his scoring, but his attempt fell some way short.
The visitors’ clearance paid dividends, but a ruck infringement broke any hope of their establishing early momentum. When the hosts failed to find touch, tiny Drostdy pivot Dimitri Moffat made them pay with a lengthy touchfinder.
A skew throw-in by the visitors, followed by a penalty 27 metres from the Donkeys’ line, deserved a more fruitful result than the hosts’ weak attempt at setting up a five-metre line-out, which was easily fielded by the defence.
Lovely driving by the Worcester pack combined with incisive backline play – in which outside centre Timothy Allies was prominent – to take the lads in scarlet within striking distance of the Blackies’ line. Although Moffat pulled a penalty attempt just wide, he made no mistake with a second effort less than a minute later. (Hugenote 0 HTS Drostdy 3 – 10 minutes)
This minor setback seemed to galvanize the home side into action and their props, twins Kayden and Cohen Kiewit spearheaded a powerful drive up to within eight metres of the Drostdy line when a wayward clearance afforded them the opportunity.
The hosts opted to run a penalty, conceded by the Donkeys for closing off a ruck, but were held up. However, a second infringement within a minute saw the ball handed to Fransman, who calmly levelled the scores. (Hugenote 3 HTS Drostdy 3 – 12 minutes)
The hosts continued to drive forcefully from the restart, captain and hooker Stephan Theron making fifteen metres, but a lack of support cost them dear.
When they turned possession over, Drostdy ran it back up to the Blackies 22 metre line. Allies took the entire defence by surprise when he took a quick tap penalty and darted over untouched near the uprights for what was really a bonus five-pointer. Moffat added the conversion. (Hugenote 3 HTS Drostdy 10 – 14 minutes)
Undeterred, Hugenote continued to take the game to their visitors, left wing Jaydan Fransman putting in a sharp twenty metre break, but the Donkeys held firm with powerful lock Bron-Lee Mouries regaining the lost ground.
Nevertheless, the plucky Blackies’ cover defence proved impenetrable and it took a penalty, conceded for obstruction in a ruck, to give Drostdy the chance to increase their tally, Moffat converting to stretch the lead to ten points. (Hugenote 3 HTS Drostdy 13 – 20 minutes)
Play was unfortunately following an all-too-predictable pattern in which one side would make headway with ball in hand, only to concede a penalty, after which the whole procedure would be repeated.
Hugenote were the next to break this sequence of events when Renaldo Frasman took play up to the Donkeys’ 22 metre line. When the visitors managed to steal a great line-out take by Blackies lock Frans-Pieter Badenhorst, they were (predictably) penalized, giving the hosts’ flyhalf the chance to set up a five-metre line-out.
Badenhorst duly obliged again and fed Theron, who was held up short, but earned (believe it or not) a penalty which was quickly shuttled to tighthead Cohen Kiewit who crashed over midway out. (Hugenote 8 HTS Drostdy 13 – 26 minutes)
Kiewit was prominent in running the kick-off straight back at Drostdy in a free-flowing move which looked promising until a kick ahead was intercepted, forcing the hosts’ cover-defence to avert a dangerous situation.
Theron restored his team’s attacking momentum, which was only broken by poor handling when a try seemed imminent.
A yellow card (and, yes, a penalty) forced the Donkeys back to within seven metres of their goal-line, but lively scrum-half Romeo Eksteen sidestepped his way out of defence and (thanks to a penalty) the visitors were able to transfer play back to the halfway line.
A skew throw-in came back to bite Hugenote as Allies and Moffat jinked their way through a bemused defensive line, Eksteen coming close to making the vital breakthrough. While clumsy handling prevented a try, it was only a matter of seconds before Drostdy no. 8 Nicolas Wilkinson broke through to score under the crossbar. Moffat’s conversion was followed by the whistle for the break. Half time : Hugenote 8 HTS Drostdy 20.
A handling error from the kick-off gave the visitors’ flank Kirstein Kloppers the chance to make several metres, but Hugenote managed to steal the ball and relieve the pressure via left wing Curtley Brown.
Great work by Renaldo Fransman saw the ball eventually find its way to the Blackies’ right wing, Marais van Zyl, whose dart down the wing had the spectators on their feet. Regrettably, like all good things, this came to an end and a great bullocking run by the Kiewit twins was nullified by a penalty for holding in a ruck.
Moffat could only clear the ball to 35 metres from his line, but a skew throw-in enabled Van Zyl to entertain the local supporters with more slick footwork.
This time it was a wild pass which let the home team down and saw the Donkeys’ right wing Juan Witbooi test the home defence. A penalty helped the Blackies put together an attack of their own, but they found the Drostdy defensive line too well-organized to penetrate.
The next action finally broke the home side’s hearts. Man of the Match Mouries thundered twenty metres before feeding prolific try-scorer Bradley van Turha on the right wing. With Hugenote forced out of desperation to infringe at the resulting ruck, Mouries forced his way over for his team’s third try. (Hugenote 8 HTS Drostdy 25 – 49 minutes)
After a short quiet period, Moffat and relatively-untroubled full-back Berto le Roux put Drostdy on the front foot, but the tempo proved too much and the ball went to ground. This was all that local hero Michael Goodall – who, after starting at outside centre, had returned to his favourite position on the side of the scrum when injured team-mate Pieter Botha was forced to leave the field – needed.
He gathered the ball, shrugged off a despairing tackle and scored under the crossbar after a thirty metre sprint. Renaldo Fransman completed the scoring from the tee. (Hugenote 15 HTS Drostdy 25 – 56 minutes)
The visitors’ pack had by now established their overall superiority, only poor backline handling following a second tight-head in as many minutes preventing them from adding to their tally.
As so often happens, affairs got scrappy in the closing stages as both sides tried to score, Mouries and Allies looking particularly threatening before releasing hooker Greyling Geldenhuys on a powerful drive.
A penalty to the Donkeys let them set up a penalty seven metres from the Hugenote line, bur Mouries was thwarted a second time and Wilkinson fell foul of the dreaded whistle when he tried to hold up Blackies no. 8 Cornwill Fritz.
Tempers threatened to disrupt the dying moments of a game that had been contested in a commendably sportsmanlike manner, but sanity soon prevailed when it was established that a cut to a Hugenote player’s cheek had been the result of nothing more than a clash of heads.
Allies and Moffat probed for the final time as the game drew to a close, a knock-on by the former resulting in the final whistle. Final score : Hugenote 15 HTS Drostdy 25.
Hugenote have no reason to be ashamed of a creditable performance against a Worcester side that contained plenty of provincial representatives, the forwards in particular deserving much praise for their unremitting commitment.
The Donkeys have definitely found their hooves and are playing some very attractive rugby, much of the credit for which must go to their patient coaches Renier de Villiers and Jorrie Jordaan. Their crackerjack backline reminds one of Schoonspruit in their heyday: small elusive players always ready to exploit the slightest weakness in their opposition.
Bearing in mind the recent Drostdy performances against Bishops and the impressive margins of their junior age-group victories on Saturday, one can only hope that rugby lovers will get the chance to see them in action more frequently in the Peninsula.
If Stellenberg were to gain acceptance to the WP Premier A tier, that would make a very compelling argument for Drostdy’s inclusion – which would even the number at ten schools – a position which this proud school actually held in the not-too-distant past.
They certainly wouldn’t disgrace the division now, either.