picture: withers and son photography
FalseBayhadthevisitors under pressure almost from the outset, scoring their first try, by centre Danie Roux, within the first three minutes. Wing Karl Martin converted and then followed this up with a penalty conversion a few minutes later.
The Bay’s option to go for the three points instead of setting up a lineout, perhaps indicated the respect they held for their southern suburbs rivals.
Ten points to the good, and the Bay had their tails up. Soon afterwards, Shuaib “Bom” Samai scored a thrilling try started from a 60m counter-attack, and the visitors seemed shell-shocked.
The Dirty Whites were not about to capitulate. First, left wing Lunathi Nxeli scored for his team, which Damien West easily converted.
The flyhalf then guided two penalties through the posts to bring his team to within four points of False Bay.
As the half progressed, the Bay found themselves frustrated by some tight defence and, at times, ordinary execution.
Muruano da Silva was especially threatening with ball in hand and a feisty presence on defence, and it was he who gave his team the lead with a try, converted by West.
It was a closely contested half, with the visitors taking the spoils on the scoreboard, a deserved and handy lead to have as they turned with the wind at their backs for the second stanza.
False Bay captain Graham Knoop was a warrior in the vanguard of his team’s efforts, and veteran fyhalf Merrick Ward, playing in his final home game before retiring, was sound throughout the contest.
As the second half commenced, the attitudes of the two camps of supporters were vastly different. Confidence and belief in their team was high in the Villager camp while the foreheads of the False Bay supporters were furrowed and smiles were hard to find.
The Bay regained the lead through a Danie Roux try, and then Knoop scored at the back of a rolling maul, which Martin converted to give his team a nine-point lead.
Whether this would be the undoing of the visitors was answered in empahtic fashion as full-back Keenan Jacobs scythed through the Bay defence and scored between the uprights. West obliged with the conversion, and the Brooksiders were within a try of their opponents.
It was at this stage that the hosts flexed some muscle and demonstrated the threat they pose to opposing lines.
They scored three tries within half an hour, two by Samaai to score his second hat trick in consecutive weeks and one by Martin, who converted all three.
The hopes of the visitors were dashed and the spectre of playoffs returned as their chances of an upset faded.
They simply never gave up, and with only referee’s optional time remainig, Villager employed what can be termed as a rumbling maul.
All but two of their players joined a 20m melee-on-the-hoof, a well-controlled, slow surge for the line, which saw reserve hooker Tinash Chaza emerge from the bottom of the pile of bodies, a broad smile and high-fives all round clear evidence of his score.
The referee called an end to an entertaining contest, one filled with quality rugby and more than enough intrigue.
False Bay travel to Brackenfell to face a very competitive team determined to end their season with a win over the Bay.
Jon Harris is a member of False Bay RFC.