An enthusiastic crowd was treated to a second day of excellent rugby in perfect weather on Saturday 16 July, the second day of the Swartland Festival, the highlight being a thrilling 20-20 draw between HTS Drostdy and Tygerberg High which brought down the curtain on the six-match programme.
The early kick-off yielded a somewhat surprising result as Piketberg overcame a 3-0 deficit to beat Irish school Campbell College 5-3, thanks to a typical barging effort from hooker Labozét Tredoux. Fullback Rory Scholes may have slotted only one of several quite kickable penalties, but the tourists should nonetheless have coasted home at a canter, despite fielding a rather diluted selection ahead of visits to Paul Roos and Tygerberg next week.
The second game saw Strand run amok after a slow start against Gill College. trailing 3-7 midway through the first half, the Beach Boys crossed over 10-7 up and ran the Eastern Cape lads ragged as they added a further six tries in the second session.
Strangely enough, the pick of the tries was a sublime solo effort by Gill right wing Jacques Malisha, who received the ball 60 metres out, chipped it over the oncoming defence, gathered it on the bounce and ran in untouched. As far as the rest of the game went, let’s just say that Strand inside centre Deon Taljaard got in some valuable kicking practice, slotting a further five conversions. Final score: Strand (Somerset West) 50 Gill College (Somerset East) 7.
The only dour affair of the day came up next as Augsburg Gym set out to register a second victory over De Kuilen, whom they had defeated 18-3 in Lutzville in March. As it turned out, they failed, the Kuiles’ outside centre Davin Marais winning the penalty duel with Gym flyhalf Janco Lehmann 2-1 to ensure a measure of revenge with a 6-3 win. Things could have been very different had the Clanwilliam side not opted to set up an unsuccessful attacking line-out when awarded a penalty fifteen metres out slap in front of the posts midway through the second half.
After this brief lull the excitement resumed with highly-fancied Die Brandwag facing Charlie Hofmeyr. Things seemed to be proceeding according to expectations as the Uitenhage lads established a 12-0 lead, thanks to tries from outside centre Christo van Eeden and workhorse No.8 Leandré Ebersöhn. However, the Charlies responded with remarkable spirit and dotted down two of their own, via flank François Engelbrecht and inside centre Damian Vermeulen, to go into the break 14-12 up.
Unfortunately for Ceres’s finest, the late introduction of SA Academy lock Armand du Preez Jnr – all 2.05m of him – starved them of lineout ball, ultimately paving the way for livewire right wing Llewellyn Pieterse to score late in the second half, sealing a 19-14 win for Die Brandwag.
Hosts Swartland seemed determined to take up where they had left off against Piketberg on Thursday, shrugging off an early penalty by Despatch flyhalf Whayburn Howley to run in three delightful five-pointers through No.8 Jonathan Moreland, prolific tighthead Estevan Janse van Rensburg and captain and centre Johan Nelson. Despatch right wing John-Herman Krause brought respectability to the scoreline with a neatly-executed try just before the break that narrowed the deficit to 8-19.
Come the second period, the Rockies had sadly run out of most of their steam and had to be content with three Warrick Philander penalties, while replacement back JC Alberts notched a second try for Eastern Cape side. Swartland 28 Despatch 15.
The final entertainment of the weekend was provided by HTS Drostdy and Tygerberg High, both of whom, to their immense credit, fielded outstandingly competitive units despite the number of players both had lost to Craven Week duty.
Flyhalf Dewald Claassen put the Parow team 3-0 up early on, but the Donkeys were soon ahead, a great try by right wing Regardt Jeneke and a penalty by full back Michael de Boer handing them an 8-3 lead at half-time.
The Tygers’ pivot missed a few attempts at goal before inside centre Edwin Sass celebrated his selection for the SA Academy side with his twentieth touchdown of 2011. Claasen’s conversion put his side ahead 10-8, a lead which they extended to twelve points (20-8), courtesy of a try by no 8 Arno Ferreira and the conversion plus a penalty from Claassen, as their confidence grew.
But the Donkeys are nothing if not stubborn creatures and they clawed their way back with late tries by de Boer and left wing Elbert de Wet, the second of which de Boer converted. Try as they might, Tygerberg couldn’t respond and a marvelously entertaining cut-and-thrust spectacle ended 20-20.
The following Festival All-Star team was announced at the conclusion of play : 15 Romeo van Heerden (Die Brandwag), 14 Daniel Nsumba (De Kuilen), 13 Edwin Sass (Tygerberg), 12 Deon Taljaard (Strand), 11 Josh Fullerton (Campbell College), 10 Dewald Claassen (Tygerberg), 9 Henry Hall (HTS Drostdy), 8 Leandré Ebersöhn (Die Brandwag), 7 Zandré Schoonbee (Gill College), 6 Aubrey Faul (Augsburg Gym) (captain), 5 Armand du Preez (Die Brandwag), 4 Meyer Ferreira (Tygerberg), 3 Estevan Janse van Rensburg (Swartland), 2 Marius Paulsen (HTS Drostdy), 1 Zuan Arendse (Swartland).
Congratulations to the organising committee on a very impressive get-together. This festival will definitely be providing viewing pleasure – as well as the opportunity to make new friendships and renew old ones – again in 2012.
By Tony Stoops
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