See Neale Emslie’s match below
|6||13h50||St Andrew’s||22||12||Nico Malan|
Preview: Graeme College in Grahamstown once again plays host to most of the best rugby schools in the Eastern Cape region. Daniel Pienaar and Brandwag are now the only recognised top schools absent from the event which will see 16 1st XV’s in action on the main field.
DALE 22 PEARSON 3
Dale and Pearson kicked off the day’s action in good conditions although overnight conditions made for rather muddy conditions in certain areas of the field.
The Kingwilliamstown side dominated much of the play and crossed for three tries in the first half to take a telling 15-3 lead into halftime. Pearson’s only response was a penalty by Rodwill Baatjies.
The second half was slightly more evenly fought, but Pearson could make no headway against a solid Dale defence, and it was the King side who made the breakthrough with a try under the posts by centre Sibulele Mbana.
Dale 22: tries by No 8 Siyanda Am, No 12 Luzuko Mtotywa, No 11 Bamanye Xenxe, No 13 Sibulele Mbana; a conversion by No 15 Sipho Dlongodlongo.
Pearson 3: penalty by No 13 Rodwill Baatjies.
HUDSON PARK 29 UNION HIGH 26
A penalty after the hooter from forward Keegan Purcell gave Hudson Park a thrilling 29-26 victory over Union High in a superbly contested encounter.
Hudson made all the early moves and jumped to a 14-0 lead before Union High found their rhythm. From then it was a case of tit-for-tat because each time one side scored, the other found a way to hit back.
No sooner had Union levelled the score, than Hudson scored just before halftime to take a 21-14 lead into the break.
In the second half, Union wing Kwesi Ansah showed terrific speed when he rounded off a movement from deep inside his team’s 22-metre area as they drew level again, only for Hudson Park to score their fourth try to move 26-21 ahead.
Ansah’s pace again proved significant when he scored his second try to even the match, but a penalty on the hooter gave Hudson the victory chance, with they took through a solid strike from about 35 metres out by Purcell.
Hudson Park 29: tries by No 3 Alulutho Tshakweni, No 9 Hlumelo Ndudula, No 10 Sine Qushile, No 13 Sipha Krweqe; 3 conversions by Qushile; a penalty by No 18 Keegan Purcell
Union High 26: tries by No 12 Kanya Tshuni 2, No 14 Kwesi Ansah 2; 3 conversions by Ansah
GREY HIGH 50 STIRLING 0
Linking dominance up front with incisive and slick running by their backs, Grey High proved too strong for Stirling to romp to a 50-0 victory.
The East London school battled to get on to the front foot in the opening half and could not plug the gaps created by the constant, powerful surges of the Grey side. They never stopped trying, though, and had some moments in the second half when they threatened their opponents’ line, but Grey’s defence was solid.
Wing Aya Matroos crossed for two tries in the first half and fullback Sihle Njezula showed his pace and skill by scoring twice in the second half, in one instance beating at least half a dozen defenders to score under the poles.
Grey High 50: tries by No 2 Apiwe Febana, No 11 Aya Matroos 2, No 10 Waqar Solaan, No 6 Bevan Prinslo, No 15 Sihle Njezula 2, No 8 Khwezi Mafu; conversions by Njezula 3, Solaan 2.
MUIR 12 CAMBRIDGE 6
A brace of tries by centre Sicelo Tole proved the difference as Muir hit back for a hard-fought win over Cambridge.
The East Londoners were first on the board, going 6-0 up with two penalties. However, Muir hit back to pull within one point at halftime when Tole crossed for a fine try.
Cambridge were unable to break down Muir’s resistance in the second half and the Uitenhage side took the lead after a period of pressure saw Tole force his way over near the posts.
Muir 12 : tries by No 12 Sicele Tole 2, conversion by No 2 S Ncapayi.
Cambridge 6: two penalties by No 10 Milasakhe Qabaka
SELBORNE 36 FRAMESBY 10
It took Selborne more than 30 minutes to subdue Framesby, but once they did, they buried their Port Elizabeth opponents with a thrilling display of running rugby which cut the defence to shreds.
Framesby started promisingly and led 10-5 at halftime, their only blemish being a yellow card which allowed Selborne to capitalise for their first try.
After the break, though, there was only one side in it and Selborne ran away with the game to score five more tries. The Framesby defensive system fell apart in this period and Selborne continually cut through their lines, allowing scrumhalf James Bruce to score twice and wing Miles Norton to add another to his first half effort.
Selborne 36: tries by No 14 Miles Norton 2, No 9 James Bruce 2, No 21 Miles Connellan, No 12 Sango Xamlashe; three conversions by No 10 David Coetzer.
Framesby 10: try by No 11 Lindsay Potgieter; one conversion, one penalty by No 15 Riaan van Rensburg.
ST ANDREW’S 22 NICO MALAN 12
St Andrew’s took control in the second half of their clash with Nico Malan to run out fairly comfortable 22-12 winners.
It was all even at halftime after a try apiece, but St Andrew’s displayed some good running skills in the second half and opened up the Nico Malan defence to score three more tries, speedy wing Tim Bloem showing his pace to cross twice.
Nico Malan never gave up and were rewarded for their efforts late in the game when flank Johan Viljoen went over for a try after a lineout close to the St Andrew’s line. The day, however, belonged to the Andreans.
St Andrew’s 22: tries by No 11 Tim Bloem 2, No 15 Ross Ferguson, No 14 Carl Johnson; one conversion by Ferguson.
Nico Malan 12: tries by No 13 Henrico Helm, No 6 Johan Viljoen; one conversion by No 10 Jak van der Walt
MARLOW 26 GRAEME 14
Marlow showed some elusive running skills among their backs to run up a telling 26-0 lead which was enough to secure a solid victory over hosts Graeme.
At one stage, the Graeme defensive structures were sorely exposed and Marlow, with flyhalf Vaughen Isaacs often prominent, took full advantage to take control in the first three-quarters of the match.
When Graeme finally did get their tackling right, they were able to apply some pressure on their opponents and hit back in the final quarter with two fine tries to add some respectability to the score.
Marlow 26: tries by No 4 Keanan Murray, No 5 Herman Greeff, No 9 Nevaldo Fleurs, No 10 Vaughen Isaacs; 3 conversions by Isaacs
Graeme 14: tries by No 13 Simamkele Ngxesha 2, two conversions by No 10 Sivu Ngqiyaza
KINGSWOOD 31 QUEEN’S 17
Kingswood and Queen’s produced a thrilling finish to the day’s play with a display of running rugby, mixed with courageous comebacks.
The Grahamstown lads showed they will be a handful for most teams this season by running up a 24-5 lead midway through the second half. But Queen’s are a proud rugby school and they were not about to lie down, hitting back in stunning fashion with two tries in a couple of minutes to narrow the gap to seven points.
However, as they strove to find a possible match-levelling score, Kingswood seized on a loose ball and from inside their own half, they broke out and, with slick handling, Cobus van Zyl took the final pass to score under the posts.
The final whistle blew a few minutes later.
Kingswood 31: tries by No 12 Siba Mzanywa, No 15 Athi Halom, No 6 Tom Lawson-Smith, No 1 Thembi Mangwana, No 19 Cobus van Zyl; three conversions by No 10 Weston Potgieter
Queen’s 17: tries by No 11 Asi Mrubata, No 15 Bulela Sotyelelwa, No 12 Chris Hollis; one conversion by No 10 Keith Kroutz
TEAMS (click on diagram to enlarge)
Preview from Neale Emslie of BB Media
THE cream of Eastern Cape schools will again provide what should be a fitting kick-off to the schools rugby season in 2016 when the annual Pam Golding Properties Graeme College Rugby Day takes place in March, slightly earlier than usual.
With the Easter weekend at the end of March next year, this yearly extravaganza of top-class schools rugby will be played on Saturday, March 12, and it will again provide the competing schools with the perfect opportunity to showcase their talents and to measure themselves against their Eastern Cape rivals.
For next year’s tournament, the organisers have focused solely on Eastern Cape schools and do not have a team from outside the region’s borders. That, however, will in no way detract from quality of play on offer and there are some mouth-watering clashes on the cards.
The feature match which finishes off the programme will a particularly interesting clash between Kingswood and Queen’s. This will be a repeat of their match-up in the 2014 Graeme Rugby Day, which Queen’s won 15-10.
You would generally regard the Queenians as favourites, but Kingswood had an outstanding year in 2015, emerging as the kings of Grahamstown by defeating both St Andrew’s and Graeme. They have the potential to produce another big year and this early test should be a fascinating showdown, bearing in mind that the teams had a humdinger in their inter-schools clash this year, which Queen’s won 43-35 in Queenstown.
Graeme have generously conceded the feature game to the Kingswood-Queen’s clash, but they and Marlow will have plenty to offer in the main curtain-raiser. This is a rare clash between the two schools and it will certainly be a tough test for the hosts against relatively small school who often punch above their weight.
Those matches will be preceded by two games which will be well worth watching. Selborne were the top team in the Eastern Cape in 2015 and they will always be an outfit who are tough to beat.
In contrast Framesby battled this year, but they have a long and proud rugby tradition and you can bank on them coming back hard to prove a point in 2016. A win over Selborne would be the perfect tonic to kick off their season. In the clash two years ago at the Graeme Rugby Day, Selborne won 33-29 and that’s an indication of what lies ahead in March.
The other match will be a repeat of an encounter this year between St Andrew’s and Nico Malan, of Humansdorp, which the Grahamstown school won 33-20. With their focus on running rugby, the Andreans could again be tough to stop.
East London side Stirling have one of the most daunting tasks of the day when they play top EP side from 2015 Grey High, while Pearson face an equally challenging match when they open proceedings against Dale College.
The fixtures are:
8am: Dale v Pearson, 9.10: Union v Hudson Park, 10.20 Grey High v Stirling, 11.30: Muir v Cambridge, 12.40: Selborne v Framesby, 13.50: St Andrew’s v Nico Malan, 15.00: Graemev Marlow, 16.10: Kingswood v Queen’s
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Freelance Sports Writer