ST CHARLES PICK UP THEIR FIRST WIN OF THE FESTIVAL WITH A 17-9 WIN OVER ST BENEDICT’S
The first game of the festival’s final day, meant to be played on the picturesque Burger Field, was moved to Mitchell Field this morning as Burger Field was too wet to host the first few games.
St Charles, unfortunately, lost one of their players due to a broken nose in the warm-up, which saw him rushed to hospital.
The game was a relatively tight affair, with St Charles searching for their first victory of the festival, which they picked up in the end. St Benedict’s were always in the contest, even seeing the two teams separated by just a point after St Benedict’s converted two penalties, whilst St Charles earned themselves a converted try.
St Charles caused more threats going forward, as reflected on the scoreboard. The second half saw further handling errors that led to a stop/start, killing the game’s flow. St Benedict’s slipped into further trouble when one of their players received a yellow card for dangerous play, seeing St Charles claiming a narrow 17-9 win.
A FLAWLESS DEFENSIVE DISPLAY BY ST DAVID’S, SAW THEM DEFEAT THE LIONS 31-0
This game took place on Mitchell Field while Burger field was being prepared to host the later games, should the waterlogged pitch allow. St David’s Marist Inanda went into the clash as the undoubted favourites, with the Lions Invitational team also hoping to leave the festival with a victory.
The game got underway with the Lions pulling out all the stops to pull together their first win of the festival but unfortunately handling errors let them down with some of the opportunities created going a-begging. Both teams struggled with their handling as the conditions proved tough but St David’s did finally cross the whitewash on the outside to take a 5-0 lead at the break.
The second half was where St David’s stamped their authority, going on to run in four tries that saw them ending their stint at the festival with a 31-0 win, despite the Lions’ valiant defensive effort.
LAST GASP HEROICS SAW WELKOM COME AWAY WITH A 26-24 VICTORY OVER A COURAGEOUS GRAEME COLLEGE
Graeme College was very unlucky in the end to lose out to Welkom Gimnasium, but credit must be given to Welkom who had to put in a big effort to claw their way back into the game. In the end, a converted try in the last move saw Welkom claiming a hard-fought 26-24 win in a dramatic fashion.
The first half was scrappy with both teams, like the ones before them, struggling with unforced errors. Graeme was the team that adapted best to the conditions first, going into drawing first blood through a penalty try. The Eastern Cape-based school quickly hit back again to see themselves 12-0 up. That wouldn’t be the end of the scoring, with Graeme eventually going 17-0 up, before Welkom got their consolation 7-pointer before the break, seeing both teams head off to halftime with Graeme 17-7 up.
The second half was thrilling as Welkom mounted an incredible comeback, clearly motivated by the interval talk from the coaches. It did however take a last-minute converted penalty by Welkom to see them stealing the game at the death, shattering Graeme’s hearts as they eclipsed them with a 26-24 win.
HELPMEKAAR EDGE NELSPRUIT 10-7
Helpmekaar Kollege and Hoerskool Nelspruit was the first game to be played on a very wet and muddy Burger Field today. The game was a thriller as Helpmekaar edged past Nelspruit 10-7 in a game that could’ve gone either way.
Helpmekaar were the first to get points on the board, with a successful penalty sailing through the sticks to see them off to a 3 – 0 lead. Both teams struggled with the muddy conditions, attempting different tactical approaches that included short runs that unleashed the forwards, as well as tactical kicks. Nelspruit, however, kept edging away at the Helpmekaar defence and was eventually rewarded with a converted try that saw the two teams head into the break with the score at 7 – 3.
The second half did not see much activity on the scoreboard, with Helpmekaar regaining their lead through a converted try that took them to 10 – 7. The action continued out on the park, with both teams’ strips hardly recognisable due to being covered by the mud. Nelspruit was unfortunate not to dot down in the end, having come so close, but at the final whistle, Helpmekaar enjoyed the bragging rights with a 10-7 win.
ST JOHN’S PUT IN A VALIANT EFFORT DESPITE 17-5 LOSS TO WELL ORGANIZED NOORDHEUWEL
The St John’s College Blues drew a crowd for their final festival game on Burger Field against Hoerskool Noordheuwel. The result may not have been ideal for the hosts, but the effort was incredible against a well-coached Noordheuwell side.
The game saw a highly motivated St John’s crossing the whitewash inside the first five minutes, but unfortunately, they failed to convert, seeing them off to a 5-0 lead. Possession and territory then exchanged hands, but as the game progressed, Noordheuwel enjoyed the better of the exchanges and even went 7 – 5 up. A lot of kicking took place from both ends to try to gain the territory battle and make it difficult for the opposition with the challenging conditions. St John’s struggled to unleash their backs, with Noordheuwel turning to their powerful running forwards, who assisted in seeing them dot down again before the break. The halftime whistle sounded, and Noordheuwel was delighted with a score of 10-5.
The second half saw a more composed display from Noordheuwel, who were able to add a further 7 points to their tally, with St John’s failing to register a score, seeing them slumping to a 17-5 defeat.
AFFIES HELD ONTO A 12-5 WIN AGAINST A MOTIVATED BOLAND TEAM
Burger Field became muddier and made playing more challenging as the day progressed. However, this did not stop the game between Afrikaanse Hoer Seunskool (Affies) and Hoer Landbouskool Boland from being exciting, despite it being a low scoring encounter.
Affies was only involved in this clash at the festival, and they made the match worth the watch. It didn’t disappoint as Boland went against most predictions by trotting over for the first five-pointer. That was, however, short-lived as Affies immersed themselves more in the clash, getting a converted try of their own to see them off to a slim 7-5 lead at the halfway point.
The second half moved from end to end, but Affies managed to add to their score when they crossed over for an unconverted try to take a 12-5 lead. That would be the last bit of points to trouble the scorers, with Boland coming close to the death to level matters on the scoreboard, but a spirited Affies defensive performance saw them cling to a slender 12 – 5 victory.
HILTON PUT IN A STRONG PERFORMANCE DESPITE A 14-5 LOSS TO PAARL BOYS’
The last game of the 25th St John’s College Easter Rugby Festival, proudly sponsored by Standard Bank and brought to you by SuperSport Schools, was a cracker. Hilton College met Paarl Boys’ High School on Bruger Field in a highly entertaining matchup that ended with Paarl Boys’ earning a deserved 14 -5 victory.
Paarl Boys were the favourites going into this clash and looked like they would run off with the game when they managed to get themselves 14 – 0 up. Hilton, however, had other ideas as the forwards combined well to see them bustling over from close range to 14 – 5 after the conversion attempt went begging. That would be the scoreline at the break, with Hilton still in with a significant chance of an upset.
The second half saw a spirited performance from Hilton, spurred on by their faithful old boys, who consistently got behind the team until the end with their traditional warcries. Paarl Boys’ in the end, were composed in their game, absorbing the Hilton attacks well and launching some of their own. A few errors were made on both sides as playing conditions were harsh, but Paarl Boys managed to hold on for a valuable win against an exciting Hilton team.