False Bay RFC travelled to UCT on Saturday and returned victorious, a consecutive clean-sweep over a university in the bag. The Bay won 20-16 after leading 13-9 at the break.
In the opening curtain-raiser, the Bay’s under-20A came from behind to hang on for a surprise win over the more fancied UCT under-20A side. The final score was a narrow 20-19 but the team, well-coached by Ashley Wells and Chris de Klerk, secured second spot on the table and a first-time victory over UCT in the Super League A.
Next up was the Bay’s Second XV, needing a victory to secure the title and retain an unbeaten record for the season. They produced quality rugby in an entertaining encounter, to win 34-19 and achieve the double they sought going into the contest.
Indeed rugby entertainment was high on the list at the Green Mile, all matches producing enthralling rugby for the hundreds of fans lining the stands and the road above the pitch which delivers a prime view of tactical execution.
For the False Bay firsts, it was their last league match before the knock-out stages. Having already qualified for the top six play-offs, at stake was a top two finish, which affords an automatic semi-final spot. History too delivered a competitive edge, the Mark Jordaan Trophy going to the victors, an award special to both teams in honour of a popular player who represented both clubs with pride and distinction.
Bay coach Johnno van der Walt has had some injuries to endure over the last fortnight and more, but his inclusive style of coaching allows seamless replacement without impact on the team’s performance. Flyhalf Dylon Frylinck was the poster-boy for this as he produced an outstanding performance at fly-half, deserving accolades all round.
He opened his team’s scoring with a penalty. The intensity of the contest increased and boundaries were tested. Despite that element, the contest remained entertaining, both sides running the ball whenever the opportunity presented. Ikeys wing Ntokozo Makhaza levelled the scores with a penalty midway through the first half.
Regrouping, False Bay launched an attack on the Ikey’s line which resulted in a penalty. Opting for the lineout, the ball was sent down the line, centre Morne Smal scything through the defence and offloaded to fullback Darian Hock, who quickly sent flyer Mustaqeem Jappie on his way to the line. Later, it was Hock who scored an entertaining five-pointer to give his team their 13 first half points and Makhaza added two penalties to the UCT tally before the break.
Tension was beginning to rise on the pitch in the second quarter, the students successfully adding niggle to the contest which the older Bay players appeared to bite at. The students played a lot of entertaining rugby. Quick passing, fast-footed, hard running in space set up by their competitive forward base. Flame-haired eighthman, Jason Macleod at the forefront of their play. He was a kingpin in their lineouts and a terrier in the loose.
In the backs, centre Kyle Lamb was a powerhouse, carrying the ball dominantly, setting a platform for his team’s attacks. Personal rivalries abounded, a long, predominantly southern suburbs history abounded between many of the players, all of which added fuel to the fire on the pitch.
Here Ikeys scrumhalf Willie Rose caught the eye, not so much for his play, but rather his unbridled intention to get under the skin of his opponents, invariably off the ball or after the whistle.
The visitors extended their lead to 11 with a Niyaaz Johnson try of a short distance, converted by Hock, their final score of the day.
UCT fought back, the edge in territorial advantage affording them opportunities to pressure their opponents and create scoring opportunities, one of which resulted in a try by centre Rethabile Louw, converted by fullback Justin Cross.
With the score line narrowed to four points, it was up to the Bay’s resolute defence to keep their lead intact, and although they never relied on just seeing the time out, they never did cross the Ikeys line again.
It was an outstanding performance by the entire squad which allowed the Bay to retain the Mark Jordaan Shield and, more importantly, bank four league points. They top the SLA table with 60 league points.
Durbell travel to Stellenbosch to face Maties and would need to beat the students by a margin greater than 33 points to trump the Bay, not by any means an impossible task.
Adding spice to the recipe is UCT’s final fixture, as they visit Florida Park to face Tygerberg, who have not been on song this season.
Victory by a margin greater than 137 points will take them past the Bay on the table. The students can expect a tough encounter in Ravensmead, traditionally a tough hunting ground for Ikeys.
There’s everything to play for at the top of the table and with a bye for the qualifiers before the knockout stages, semi-finalists face almost a month of inactivity before their next match.