The much anticipated "Derby" ended in an emphatic 19-13 victory to Kingswood on a clear and windless day in Grahamstown. The score somewhat flattered a gallant Graeme College.
Both sides came out firing and all could see that this was going to be an extremely physical clash between the two old foes. Kingswood who started the season rather shakily and have grown as the season progressed won their eighth game on the trot with a really gutsy display of defence outscoring the visitors by three tries to a penalty try and two penalties.
Lihleli Xoli, the Kingswood pivot was immense on the day and some of his bone crushing tackles could still be heard in Grahamstown as the sun set. Showing skills reminiscent of "Quade Cooper" and then the bulldozer type knocks when on the run of a younger "Jonah Lomu" left many a Graemian writhing in pain and confusion. He is definitely a player to watch out for in the future and he has definitely left his mark on Kingswood rugby.
Kingswood were first to score when Xoli double dummied and skip passed the ball to Steven Loock, the Kingswood fullback who cut back on a perfect angle to run though and score under the poles after a scrum near on halfway, it looked like the kind of drill the boys would have run many times at practice and was perfected on the day. Eighthman Laine Collet converted. From the resulting kick off Kingswood transgressed and the Graemian wing was successful with a well taken penalty. He had another opportunity to draw Graeme closer but was unlucky when he struck the crossbar with a long range attempt. Arran Briceland, the Kingswood lock was having a field day in the line-outs and pinched many a Graeme throw in as well as putting in many bullocking runs and some really big hits on the opposition, he was a tower of strength on the day. Kingswood went further ahead shortly before half time when Ryan Goldberg, the Kingswood scrumhalf darted around the blind side to score after a long and sustained attack by the Kingswoodians. The sides went to half-time with Kingswood leading 12-3.
Graeme came out like men possessed in the second half and it was easy to see that they had not given up hope of an upset. After continued pressure in the Kingswood 22 they finally knocked over a penalty to bring them back in the game at 12-6. Then it was that man Xoli again to ignite by putting a deft grubber through the Graeme defence which Kingswood captain and winger, Ruru Msutu ran onto to dot close to the poles in a really skilful move, Laine Collet converting to extend the lead to 19-6. Graeme came storming back but, as hard as they attacked, Kingswood defended and some resolute defence ended in various turnovers won by Jonathan Braans, the Kingswood flanker. The game moved into a scrappy phase until Graeme got onto the attack and after various attempts at crossing the Kingswood line were mysteriously awarded a penalty try which had the Kingswood boys totally confused. However they did not allow this to get them down and calmly played the game out and the final whistle blew with Kingswood being deserved victors at 19-13.
The Kingswood season was definitely one of two halves. The first half was one of frustration and the second half of the season belonged to one of the gutsiest teams we have seen at Kingswood for many a year. It also included the return of the mercurial Lihleli Xoli. Who will ever forget that day of 18 June 2011 when they buried the bogey of St Andrew's College with that extremely tight victory on Lower?
Congratulations to Quintin Tait, his coaching team and last but not least to those wonderful boys who wore the Red and Black. Kingswood salutes you as they do all who have donned that jersey. Izani Madoda
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