Following a successful test run last season, the Northern League schools’ rugby league kicked off at the weekend.
The first round of fixtures certainly didn’t lack drama and the style of play set the tone for what promises to be a season of end-to-end running rugby with some tight battles to be crowned champion.
All three of the Northern League matches took place in Goodwood this weekend, with last year’s league champions, Edgemead High School, on a bye.
In Milton Road, the match between President High School and Table View High School turned out to be a high-scoring thriller.
The Viewies took an early 14-0 lead, but it seemed that the experience picked up by the Pressies during their tough pre-season paid off as they were able to come back to eventually win 30-25.
In the process they scored four tries, thereby bagging the first bonus point of the season. The match proved that President will once again be a powerhouse this year but also that Table View will be a much bigger threat than initially anticipated, with an especially impressive forward pack.
Over in Merriman Road, the match between JG Meiring and Bosmansdam had a slightly different character but was an equally close encounter, ending 21-13 in Meiring’s favour.
Defence dominated this match as two powerful packs slugged it out for the first 45 minutes or so with only the kickers keeping the scorers busy.
If anything, Bosmansdam dominated the first half and only had themselves to blame for not converting at least three golden opportunities to score.
JG Meiring seemed to grow in confidence as the match progressed and it was Bosmansdam’s defence that cracked first to let in a try. With the Knights now playing catch-up rugby the game became more open.
They eventually leveled the scores again at 13-all but a Meiring penalty minutes later forced the Knights to play catch-up once again and, rather predictably, this resulted in another JG Meiring try late in the game to seal the game and deny the Knights a losing bonus point.
In Hugo Street, a tightly contested match between Fairburn College and Parklands College was marred by an unfortunate, somewhat dramatic incident.
The highly-rated Fairbairn side were largely kept in check by Parklands’ structure with the half-time score still relatively close at 12-3 in Fairbairn’s favour.
A red-card situation just before half-time was, however, badly handled by the referee with both teams complaining to him at half-time. In response, the referee blew the game short and left.
Thankfully the relationship between the two schools does not seem to have suffered. They will need to discuss it during the week, but Parklands have indicated that they are happy to let the result stand.
With the first week of matches out of the way, President tops the log, having collected 5 points in their opening fixture. The action continues next week with three more matches. Fairmont and Edgemead will also be playing their first matches against Northern League opposition and will be hoping to get some points on the log table from the get-go.
Fairmont are a relative unknown quantity in the league this year and they will be hoping that that works in their favour when they travel to Goodwood to meet a confident JG Meiring.
Table View will host Bosmansdam in what should be an interesting match as both teams will be desperate for a win after a loss in week one.
Parklands travels to Edgemead and will be hoping to put the previous week’s drama behind them and get a win under the belt against an Eagles side hoping to repeat their success from last season.