Visitors Hilton recorded their first win on Goldstones in nearly 20 years when they beat Maritzburg College 29-18.
Hilton ran onto famed ground as pre-game favourites but even so, it was highly unlikely that anyone who’ d been a regular at Goldstones for this derby over the years, could have expected or ever witnessed such a dominant display on that ground from the private school based at the top of Town Hill.
Even without a few recognizable names missing from the Hilton pack, the eight forwards came to the party big time during the match. None were more prominent than advantage-line breaking lock Niaan Taljaard who has been putting in some big shifts this season and is arguably the best tight-loose big ball-carrier in KZN in 2018. His upperbody strength and leg driving power where showcased in Hilton’s opening try, which talented scrumhalf Christopher Schreuder converted to give the visitors a 7-0 lead.
Maritzburg College responded with a penalty via Keagan Collyer after a Hilton player had been issued a yellow card. This made it 7-3.
Hilton have produced some very good school level scrumhalves of late and Schreuder fits into this category. College didn’t do their homework on the ballplayer, who Hilton cleverly deploy to cover the touchline area of the backfield because of his skillset. After the halfback fielded a kick which could have been directed to touch as a better option, he advanced then chipped and chased over the defenders in front of him. The kind bounce allowed the no.9 to regather the ball before he beat the last man and scored his team’s second try, making it 12-3.
When Hilton’s forwards weren’t putting in the hard yards, they were able to turn to some useful probing kicks, some executed with Ronan o’Gara like precision by Schreuder and also young flyhalf Ruan Wilmans.
Hilton just missed a chance to extend their lead before halftime when a penalty shot struck the post but after the break they did go up 15-3. It was a first half in which College had been pinned back in their own territory with not much going right including lineouts.
That Hilton lead then grew to 22-3 after a try by flyhalf Wilmans who had sold a dummy and then backed himself. In the lead up to the try Hilton had freed up a ball from a ruck and moved it wide. A key part was played by their solid captain Patrick McVeigh who’s quick hands transfer away from the pressure point where the incoming defence looked to “man-and-ball” him in possession, got the ball out of harm’s way and kept the energy of the move alive.
College then came at Hilton like a battering ram but it was soul destroying stuff when they initially could not score.
Finally College registered their first try. It was quite a memorable one too. Centre Jacques van der Walt executed a cross-kick-pass which outside centre Ethan Heuer caught before the Red,Black,White’s best player on the day, the explosive no.8 Nthutuko Mchunu got to race clear and stay upright after an attempted ankle tap by a cross covering defender. That try made it 22-8 after 60 minutes.
Hopes of a College comeback were dashed three minutes later. Hilton won a turnover near their opponents 22m line. Centre Grant Cousins produced a damaging carry over the advantage line. Recycled ball then went wide to the midfield where flank Mark Armstrong was positioned. He spotted a gap in the drifting defensive alignment as College got their man marking wrong. The loose-forward accelerated through between two players to score, which with the successful kick grew the lead to 29-8.
There was heaps of action right at the death. First College scrumhalf Philane Simamane made up for some of the difficulties he’d had during this game by making a contribution along with Mchunu towards flank Sbu Pinkiney try : 29-13. Hilton were then denied what would have been a very well worked try when the AR indicated to ref that a pass earlier in the move was forward. The final points belonged to College after wing Nkondlo Radebe chip ahead and the chase to get to the ball first was won by his teammate, fullback Anele Nzimande who gathered it over the line and applied downward pressure: 29-18.
It was all however too little too late for College who had at least made the score respectable thanks to their never-say-die attitude.
For Hilton this 43rd victory over rivals who they have played 169 times dating back to 1902 was well-deserved.
|1||Ethan Hodgson||1||Brendan Naude|
|2||Brandon Nel||2||Dylan Thomas|
|3||Sphekahle Dube||3||Dylan Davies|
|4||Wandile Hlophe||4||Niaan Taljaard|
|5||Gary Lesur||5||Stuart Roy|
|6||Sbu Pinkiney||6||Mark Armstrong|
|7||Brannan Webster||7||Patrick McVeigh|
|8||Nthutuko Mchunu||8||Lorenzo Palacio Apez|
|9||Philane Simamane||9||Gareth Schreuder|
|10||Keagan Collyer||10||Ruan Wilmans|
|11||Buhle Nene||11||Robert Mattison|
|12||Jacques Van der Walt||12||Grant Cousins|
|13||Ethan Heuer||13||Siyabonga Xulu|
|14||Nkondlo Radebe||14||Robert McGaw|
|15||Anele Nzimande||15||Roger Ellis|