What an epic match unfolded in front of an extra big home crowd at Cornelia Avenue in PE and thankfully SSL were there to put together an outstanding production with well-balanced commentary.
Home team Framesby, the day school without a boarding establishment took on a very useful Grey High 1st XV in the battle to be crowned the top school in Port Elizabeth for the 2019. Framesby last tasted success against their city rivals in 2011 when their flyhalf Ernst Stapelberg came back to haunt his old school, helping Framesby to win 23-3 on the day. It marked a good period as Framesby had also won the 2009 game 16-7 aided by standout loose-forward Cornell du Preez (now a Scottish international). However those two wins in close succession are all Framesby have had to show for 20 years of effort. Now coming up in 2019, they have a realistic chance to topple Grey for the first time in eight seasons.
At first it seemed like the derby was heading for an anti-climax of note. Grey were very quick out of the blocks and their good decisions plus clinical execution on attacks had them 22-0 up after just a quarter of an hour. It was crazy how well they were playing. Who would have guessed that the “Pajama Boys” wouldn’t add another point for the remaining 55-minutes. Full credit to Framesby though. They showed the mental maturity to not crack under this pressure. The unsettled hosts clawed their way back into contention. Shortly after halftime it was 22-17, following a memorable try by centre Cadan-Wade Finnis.
However if this match is to be remember in the years to come, it will be for the closing few minutes. Framesby camped in the Grey redzone and launched numerous “kitchen sink throwing” assaults in an effort to get an equalising try. The home team won numerous penalties in kickable positions but their desire to go for the jugular meant that calling for the tee was the last thing on the mind of standout captain Christo Grobler. Resolute in defence falls short of describing how good Grey was at fortifying their tryline. Grey’s offensive skill in opening fifteen minutes may have thrilled all in attendance but their guts and sheer determination in making tackle after tackle and reorganising so efficiently and quickly, first with 15-players, then 14 and finally 13 right at the death, redefined what it meant for those boys to wear their school jersey and play for their school and earned them tremendous respect all round.
Grey held out to win 22-17. What a absorbing, nail-biting great advert for schoolboy rugby it was!
This good Grey team now faces the uphill of uphill challenges next up in Bloemfontein, where history suggests that even their best outfits have come badly unstuck against their namesake who just happen to be unbeaten in a season once again.
A fortnight after that they will have to lift themselves for what promises to be another intercity thriller – the Eastern Cape decider against the impressive Selborne team from East London.
Framesby supporters can look forward to a unique couple of weekends starting on 27 July as they take on the two giants of SWD rugby – the Oakdale Bulle and the Outeniqua Kwaggas. These two matches are tipped to be top billing.