New Grey College versus Paarl Gim derby could set off a domino effect

1. GREY COLLEGE & PAARL GIM

Once just a dream of the former Paarl Gymnasium headmaster Basjan Reinhardt who passed away in 2013, now a reality a decade later. At the end of July 2023 it was made known that Grey College (and Bloemfontein girl’s school Oranje) will be participating in a brand new inter-schools derby against Paarl Gymnasium, starting in 2024.

The downside is Grey vs Gimmies had became a huge draw-card on the premier festival fixture list in recent times and will be extremely hard to replace in terms of pulling power.

The new fixture is going to be a big deal on the schoolboy rugby calendar. Our website stats indicate that these two schools are the top two in the country over a period of time from 2010 to 2023.

Being based in the highly competitive Western Province, Paarl Gim is not short of good fixture choices.

2. STELLENBERG

Increasing the Gim options has the rapid rise to prominence of Stellenberg, a Co-ed from the Northern Suburbs of Cape Town, whose ambition has been matched and praised for its careful planning on how to create a sustainable competitive rugby programme. Stellenberg can now push out  five u14 teams, which is as good as it gets as far as Co-eds are concerned.

The Jades had performed so well allround, they were promoted to the WP Premier League in 2023. Our rankings should that for the last five completed season, they are the tenth best school 1st XV in the country.

TOP 10 – 5 Seasons from 2017 to 2023 (2020 & 2021 omitted due to Covid)

1            Grey College      211.24
2            Paarl Gim           199.20
3            HJS Paarl BH      192.53
4            Paul Roos           180.95
5            Monument        166.64
6            Hilton                 162.94
7            Affies                  161.11
8            Garsfontein       158.65
9            Glenwood          147.35
10          Stellenberg        146.51

It may not seem like it just yet but in terms of options, the new Gim fixture may prove to be massive for Grey College. Even before acquiring Gim, the Grey fixture list was arguably the best in SA. Grey plays just about every rugby school that has performed well on the rankings over the past decade. Their travel budget is huge and it has to be. The Bloemfontein City League does not offer Grey the same level of competitive or depth choices that most other leading rugby schools experience in their respective regions. So why would the new fixture be massive? Well there is an element of uncertainty about the sustainability of a couple of Grey’s current longstanding fixtures.

3. GREY HIGH SCHOOL & SELBORNE

The big Grey College versus Grey High annual interschools started in the early 1970’s. It has historic significance because both schools are connected by name to the same former Governor of the Cape. Adding even more to the character of the event is that the junior schools play each other on the same derby weekend, meaning that over the years numerous boys have competed against each other from u9 all the way through to open age group level. It is something that is really unique for a derby involving a school outside the Eastern Cape.

However Grey High is fast approaching a critical decision about this fixture’s meaning – whether or not it still holds holistic value. Questions are being asked that even if the A-teams can hold their own, the lower teams are on a hiding to nothing unless staggered matches become more of a thing. Can the tradition of the affair withstand the impracticality? Off course any decision made, won’t be purely a rugby one. There are other sports that take place on derby day to consider, hockey being the main one.

Selborne face a similar decision. Like Grey High, their successful lower rugby teams were limited to those who played staggered matches against Grey Bloem. In truth Selborne and Grey High may consider themselves better off playing a home and away annual fixtures against each other instead and finding ways to meet Grey College at Rugby Festival events.

2023 derby results

Grey High Selborne Grey High
at home to away to away to
Grey College Grey College Selborne
1st XV 14-38 00-41 10-12
2nd XV 05-33 12-53 14-24
u16A 19-66 06-93 05-19
u15A 13-57 00-43 26-03
u14A 00-27 00-89 43-07
AGG 51-221 18-319 98-65
AVG 10-44 03-64 19-13

 

Grey College have seen the likes of Glenwood and Maritzburg College come and go as derby opponents.  The Bloem Boys will have a vivid memory of 2022 when they only had two scattered third term rugby fixtures. Planning a future to avoid a reoccurrence of this is imperative.

4. OUTENIQUA

The newly announced high profile derby is not good news for everyone though. The Grey-Gim fixture coupled with Stellenberg’s elevation to the Premier League is a potential problem for Outeniqua from George.

Like Grey College, the Kwaggas do not have local opponents they can rely on to make up anything close to a sizeable portion of their fixture list. Their nearest top level rivals are Oakdale who are 140km away. Unlike Grey, the SWD school’s travel budget is significantly smaller and unlike Grey, they have to cater for the girls’ sports as well.

Paarl Gim’s decision to book a Saturday for Grey College probably means Outeniqua will be dropped as one of their annual interschools fixtures. Stellenberg on the other hand plays a part by reducing the number of free weekends available to WPPL schools. Two schools who have featured as Kwaggas opponents in the past were Paarl Boys’ High and Paul Roos, are amongst those Cape based schools who have reason to now feel very content with decent local opposition in the form of Stellenberg – the bonus being the bundle that gets saved on not having to travel to George every second year.

Outeniqua only had twelve fixtures in 2023. They may face a real crisis if they cannot find the opportunities and maybe the funds to at the very least maintain this number. Interestingly fellow Co-ed Stellenberg remains as one of their interschools matches. For 2024, ever-improving Noordheuwel from Krugersdorp will replace Brandwag from Kariega (Uitenhage) as one of the home matches and more good news is that Boland Landbou looks set to step into the void left by Paarl Gim.

Another big fish addition could well be Grey High. The distance to Gqeberha is 320km. Might a decision to add Outeniqua, spell the end of a long term rugby relationship with Grey College for Grey High?

 

 

 

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8 Comments

  1. avatar
    #8 Deon

    @Kaya 85: That would be insanity. Remember Garsfontein is more a Boland school than what the Winelands schools actually are, based on the history of Boland rugby. Stellenberg may just find that after half time more than half their team have been usurped by Garsies and playing the second half for Garsies against them.

    ReplyReply
    1 October, 2023 at 21:37
  2. avatar
    #7 Deon

    Nie seker of derby ‘n korrekte woord is vir hierdie tipe kragmetings nie en of dit op gemiddeld sin maak en of dit nog nie moeite werd is vir skole soos Grey wat nou nie eintlikste genoeg rugby-en sport diepte het om oor die hele spektrum te kompeteer nie en maar “submediocre” is met intellektuele aspekte van interskole kragmetings. Laat dit eerder net gaan oor die eerste drie RUGBYspanne in elke ouderdomsgroep. Die idee van net die eerste drie spanne per ouderdomsgroep is seker ook relevant met skole soos Garsfontein wie se koop-hol-oorwinnings uit die Kaap veldtog nog nie deurgesypel het na alle spanne nie ( ek praat onder korreksie)

    ReplyReply
    1 October, 2023 at 21:33
  3. avatar
    #6 Atlantic

    @Kaya 85: Agree ….

    ReplyReply
    18 September, 2023 at 22:36
  4. avatar
    #5 Human Piranha

    Great article Beet

    ReplyReply
    18 September, 2023 at 07:46
  5. avatar
    #4 Kaya 85

    @Smallies: Garsfontein and Stellenberg should arrange an annual fixture. Schools have a lot in common and would make a good match i.m.o.

    ReplyReply
    17 September, 2023 at 20:06
  6. avatar
    #3 Djou

    Wow, dis goeie nuus! Gaan beide spanne se standaard verhoog.
    Sien baie uit!

    ReplyReply
    17 September, 2023 at 19:55
  7. avatar
    #2 Kantman

    Finger on the pulse as always Beet, thanks. Where else to get this kind of thoughtful assessment on what is happening in schoolboy rugby?
    Having said that, hierdie is teken van die skuif in krag en skole gaan moet aanpas.

    ReplyReply
    17 September, 2023 at 19:29
  8. avatar
    #1 Smallies

    Groot een die Grey gaan al drie die groot wynland skole nou speel elke jaar….maar ten koste van een of twee ou interskole games….weet nie regtig hoe ek oor dit voel nie

    ReplyReply
    17 September, 2023 at 18:31

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