Maritzburg College beats Kearsney 14-12 in 2019

Maritzburg College left it until the last play of the match to end a 12-year wait for a win on Kearsney’s Stott Field. With time almost up and College trailing 7-12, Kearsney blew a golden opportunity to relieve the pressure when an attempted exit from a ball carried back into the 22 crossed the plain of the touch line on the full. For College, securing ball from the ensuring lineout wasn’t a given. On a very wet, misty afternoon, ball-handling had proven to be a massive challenge for the players and although College’s lineout aided by go-to jumper Brannan Webster’s good execution, had pulled off two very technical set switch moves in the first half that came close to resulting in tries, the set-piece had proven to be problematic for them. Nevertheless when push came to shove, the Red Black and White came together as a team and produced the goods. They used the lineout platform to set up a sustained attack that was met with plenty of resistance. As with so many earlier attacks during this big battle, it could quite easily have ended with an unforced error or turnover of another sort but this time when it mattered most, the College composure was outstanding. Finally openside flank Malwande Dlangalala who capped an excellent individual performance, crashed over reasonably close to the upright to level the scores. Like the lineout, the conversion wasn’t a certainty either yet scrumhalf Henry Trodd handled the conditions and the pressure very well to direct his low kick down the middle.  Moments later the final whistle sounded to confirm the come from two scores behind 14-12 College win.

By the 47th minute Kearsney had grown their lead to 12-0. Although College dominated territory and had more of the possession in the first 35-minutes, the One-Stripes opening try in the 11th minute was the only score of that half. The Kearsney pack contributed to that cause by producing a series of meaningful drives deep in the redzone before the backline was called into action. Tough young flyhalf Matt Hind was a marked man during the match and did well to get the ball away before being smashed. Outside centre Connor de Bruyn then produced an outstanding bit of skill to rescue the situation by collecting the unfavourable pass and getting it away to 1.91m/105kg powerful fullback Derick Marshall, who was literally unstoppable from so close to the line.

In the seesaw battle for possession 5-0 became 12-0 from an unlikely starting point. College’s very short and compact frontrow consisting of Cebo Dlamini, Junior Mndaweni and Athi Matsheke had ascendency in the scrums for the better part of the match but surprisingly conceded one of their two tightheads at an inopportune moment, this after the visitors had seemingly saved a threat by turning over one of their opponents’ attacking lineouts inside the  22. Kearsney spearheaded by their workaholic captain Ox Carmody at tighthead, gave hooker Reid Stuart the leeway to heel against the head, which amounted to quickball that soon found itself tucked under the arm of midfielder de Bruyn who took the outside gap on a diagonal line and had too much go-forward to be hauled in once disposed of his marker via a powerful handoff. Scrumhalf Cade Carmichael converted the try.

College struck back almost immediately. They won a penalty soon after the kickoff. Choosing tap-and-goes ahead of kicking for the corner proved to be profitable. The determination not only caused the Kearsney defence to infringe, it got College over the line where tighthead Matsheke rose last with the ball from the heap of bodies and duly received the embraces from his delighted teammates. With Trodd’s kick, the deficit was reduced to 12-7 with 19-minutes left to play, setting the stage for  the dramatic finish.

College’s strike runner flyhalf Anele Nzimande had accounted for two of the more memorable attacking moments in the game. In the first half his dink over the top and into the in-goal area created a 50:50 chance that was knocked on by a teammate just before the break. With the score at 12-7, he set off on the longest individual run of the match, an outside to inside path over 50m. With the line beckoning, Kearsney flank Aaron Smith produced the try-saving tackle. It didn’t quite end the danger for the home side as College pressed for the 5-points. The exciting atacking passage fizzled out when promising eighthman Mass Fierro won a turnover on the tryline and proceeded to carry the ball out of the danger area.

1 Bradley Taylor u18 1 Cebo Dlamini u17
2 Reid Stuart u18 2 Junior Mndaweni u17
3 Oliver Carmody u18 3 Athi Matsheke u17
4 Tyson Andrews u17 4 Brogan Tedder u18
5 Dean Burrell u18 5 Wandile Hlophe u18
6 Carlo Miller u18 6 Malwande Dlangalala u18
7 Aaron Smith u17 7 Brannan Webster u18
8 Massimo Fierro u17 8 Siya Ningiza u17
9 Cade Carmichael u17 9 Henry Trodd u17
10 Matthew Hind u17 10 Anele Nzimande u18
11 Luke Dudley u17 11 Khwezi Hadebe u18
12 Luke Wilson u18 12 Siphe Kekana u18
13 Connor De Bruyn u17 13 Philani Simamane u19
14 Josh Muller u18 14 Kaid Morsink u17
15 Derick Marshall u18 15 Jarred Hendrikz u18

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