False Bay were stung and reacted in the best manner any team can, by scoring a try in the corner.
Awarded a penalty on their opponents’ 10 metre line, livewire scrumhalf Dylon Frylinck took a quick tap and started a move which resulted in wing Mustaqeem Jappie scoring 10 metres in from the touchline. Flyhalf Andri Claassen converted and the Bay took a four point lead. Dumond reduced that to a single point minutes later with a penalty kick.
The Bay chatted in the huddle and had a plan for the restart, a deep kick which found Hammies ball-watching as it bobbed around for veteran Bay centre Byron Mohr to snatch it from the fingertips of an opponent and score under the poles. Claassen made the try a goal.
By the time the half had ended, that eight point Bay advantage had been reversed by the visitors through two well worked tries by standout centre Harlon Klaasen, one of which was converted by Dumond. The swirling wind was a constant factor in the match, with even this maestro of the boot missing his target. The Bay were reduced to 14 men through a yellow card, making their task that much more difficult and Hammies, professional as always made them pay for the player deficit with this brace.
Despite the yellow card, these tries were well taken opportunities which saw the Bay defence being sliced with great ease and did not bode well for the second half, a period where traditionally Hamiltons have had the upper hand in previous contests.
In the opening stages of the second half Dumond, by now back at his best, converted two penalties to extend the Hamiltons lead to 10.
The match was played at tremendous pace with brutal physicality.
Hamiltons eighthman Jody Burch was his usual robust self. Klaasen and Morgan Newman at centre were constant threats, while inside of them Dumond delivered his usual master performance. Up front flank Gareth Rowe was very busy, his absence felt when he departed late in the game.
False Bay too played a fair role in delivering an exciting contest. Props Wesley Chetty and Ashley Wells were prominent, the former all over in the loose, the latter leading a resurgence in his team’s scrumming performances as the game progressed. Young lock Brandon Wood delivered the goods, securing good lineout ball and hitting the rucks and mauls through his high work rate. Eighthman Ryan Olivier was a giant presence and evergreen Justin van Winkel the silent storm.
Replacement hooker Royal Mwali is a gem, his skills immense and he was rewarded with the Bay’s third try. At the back Osman was steady, understated class, as was replacement scrumhalf Ridhaa Damon. The nuggety number nine replaced Frylinck who had an outstanding game. These two are different in style but have similar impact on a game.
Mwali’s try and Claassen’s conversion levelled the scores with five minutes to go. What ensued was 15 minutes of intense, exciting play as each team sought to break the deadlock in what amounted to a sudden death playoff. There was ten minutes of extended time as both teams opted to keep the ball alive by going for touch on penalties and during this period it was the Bay who seemed most likely to score. Long range goalkicks presented greater risk through counter attack and it was left to try scoring off an error in defence to break the tie.
It was not to come and the match ended in a draw. Most in attendance agreed that the result was perhaps the fairest. The players feel differently and were disappointed, whatever the colour of their shirt. False Bay have a five week break until mid-July.
* Jon Harris is a member of False Bay RFC.