Under the shadows of a white-hot Cape Town Stadium, where the Stormers had just overpowered visitors Connaught, False Bay RFC returned to Constantia with a single match point, losing 17-12 to Hamilton at the Stephen Grounds on Saturday. The half-time score was 14-12.
Both teams were winless from their previous two Super League A (SLA) matches, False Bay having lost to UCT and Maties, and Hamilton gaining a draw to accompany their loss on the table to date. The 6.30pm start was later than usual under lights that would test the vision of all 33 players and officials on the day.
Having won the toss, Hammies chose to play with the stiff wind blowing their eyebrows back.
Flyhalf Dylan Frylinck opened the scoring for the Bay when he ghosted through a gap without hindrance from a lineout on the Hammies quarter line. He converted to make it seven.
This was within the first seven minutes of play, and False Bay appeared to have put their ordinary display against Maties in their previous outing behind them.
Hammies struck back, working their way back up the pitch, earning a penalty directly in front of the Bay posts, which fullback Wynand MacLauchlan converted. Minutes later, centre Leighton van Wyk, who featured on attack throughout, snatched up a loose ball on the Bay’s line to give his team a one point lead. MacLauchlan later converted a penalty to extend that lead to seven.
Despite this lead, Hammies did not appear to strike for the kill, which allowed their guests the opportunity to hit back through an expansive try by wing Muji van der Hoven, the scoreboard brightly displaying it’s halftime tally for the remainder of the half.
Both teams introduced key bench players, each adding impact as intended. MacLauchlan converted another penalty but Hammies were still within striking distance and prone to a converted try wresting the lead.
The Bay started their second half full of intent, and found themselves camped in the Hamilton quarter. They attacked the line, only to commit fundamental handling errors.
Hammies would then work their way out of their half, at times in breathtaking fashion with strong running. Here the incredibly rapid replacement wing Jared Africa displayed his pace, seemingly borne on the stiff breeze at his back. One particular run was only stopped by a desperate full length tap tackle.
With each break out, False Bay would work their way back on attack, all too often relinquishing the gains through another error. On the other side, their opponents too committed frustratingly simple errors which nullified their hard work.
False bay travels to Kuils River on Saturday to face the newly promoted club and renew another old rivalry.
• Jon Harris is a member of False Bay RFC.