Michaelhouse and Kearsney meet up on the Meadows, Balgowan at 15h00 on Saturday 16 June 2012 in an unofficial final of sorts to decide the winners of KZN interschools season.
When polls were taken before the start of the season, many people predicted a good season for Kearsney College. However following a poor start to their campaign which included very close call 17-12 against a determined George Campbell side, a 13-6 defeat up at Hilton College and a less than convincing 27-21 win against DHS, their ratings seemed to dip substantially with many viewing them as the 6th best tier 1 team in the province at that stage. That all changed when Kearsney recorded a hard fought 20-14 win on Glenwood’s home ground, becoming the first local team to win on Dixons in years. Kearsney followed this up with convincing wins 30-10 triumph on Goldstones, only the school’s second ever win on the famous ground and a week later their 20-3 disposal of Westville served to confirm that Kearsney had peaked late and are very much the form team in KZN at the moment. The Botha’s Hill team saw their 3 outstanding 2011 Craven Week reselected for duty in 2012.
During the same preseason polls, the name Michaelhouse did not surface once as a team standing any kind of chance of overhauling the so-called big guns in 2012. House had come off a woeful 2011 year, so could be understood why there was a bit of pessimism surrounding their chances amongst the KZN SBR fraternity. MHS also did not do themselves any favours by starting their season at Glenwood without at least one easier warm-up match. Those who turned out in the miserable weather to watch House that day, witnessed anything but a struggling outfit as the Balgowan boys took the game to the Green Machine and were in the opinions of many unlucky to go down by a solitary point in a 14-13 finish. This pain of losing by such a tight margin was relieved several times over in the course KZN interschools season though as Michaelhouse pipped Westville (24-22), Hilton (12-11) and College (23-20) at the posts in a remarkable sequence of down to the wire key home wins. 6 players in the KZN Schools u18 Craven Week side speaks volumes about their success this season.
Saturday’s game on the Meadows up in Balgowan might not exactly amount to the dramatic last day of the season English Premier League climax but it’s as close as one can possibly hope for to that. There is no league in KZN, just healthy traditional rivalries that have made for some stimulating and skilful contests with often unpredictable outcomes this season. Nevertheless it now clear that Kearsney and Michaelhouse have emerged as the top 2 schools in the province in 2012 with only 1 defeat apiece. So scheduling done months before the season commenced which has resulted in them meeting in what will be Michaelhouse’s penultimate game and Kearsney’s final one, seems like a stroke of genuis now.
Saturday’s winner will surely be crowned the unofficial number one 1st XV in KwaZulu-Natal for 2012 both on paper and in the minds of SBR followers.