Derby clashes deliver in Northern League


The weekend promised some tantalising schoolboy rugby with derby rivalries burning both on the pitch as well as the sidelines. The exciting matches that played out did not disappoint as sides went head to head for bragging rights over their neighbours.

One of the big matches was between the current Northern league champions, Edgemead High School’s Eagles, and their immediate neighbours, the Bosmansdam Knights.

Both sides found themselves in unexpectedly low positions on the log leading up to the game and were desperate to give some respectability to their season with a win before the mid-season break. The increasingly fierce derby rivalry between the two schools certainly added to the gravitas of the occasion.

What many may have expected to be a dreary affair, considering the two teams’ low log positions, turned out be a tense thriller of a match. The Eagles were on the attack early on and the Knights were stretched on defence.

The Edgemead coaching staff were justifiably disappointed that their team didn’t score at least two tries in the first 10 minutes. The Knights began to pick up their game at this point and the rest of first half ebbed and flowed with both teams creating and then missing a few key opportunities.

The half ended with the Knights camped on the Edgemead try line and looking very dangerous after a nasty injury to Edgemead’s hooker, Christopher Lowe, whose head collided with the knee of his brother, Stephen, who plays for Bosmansdam. The teams went into the break with a scoreless stalemate.

The Knights seemed to establish a bit of dominance early in the second half and were able to score a converted try. They then proceeded to dominate just as much as Edgemead did in the first 10 minutes of the match but they also missed many opportunities. Momentum shifted again with the Eagles’ constant counter-attacks eventually leading to a try that levelled the game at 7-a piece.

In the end it was a bit of luck that saw Bosmansdam get the winning try after a kick ahead bounced into the hands of supersub extraordinaire, Enrique George, the under-16 sensation with jet shoes, who dotted down under the posts to give Bosmansdam the win with a final score of 14-7.

* In perhaps the most anticipated match of the weekend, President travelled to face league favourites Fairmont in Durbanville. The Fairmont Bears were able to muscle over the try-line early in the match to take a 7-0 lead. The boys in red and white fought back well though and certainly gave as good as they got and shortly before half-time they were rewarded with a good set-piece try.

Their hard work was, however, undone by another try by Fairmont who went into the break with a 14-8 lead. After half-time the Pressies launched one attack after the other and in the process probably lost a bit of structure. The Bears were on the defensive and only managed another three points in the second half, with a final score of 17-8.

This is the second game in a row in which Fairmont were made to dig deep for the win with a fine defensive display in the second half, proving that they are not completely unbeatable, but that it will take a massive performance to do so.

They do, however, now finally find themselves at the top of the log, something they had threatened to do for quite some time.

* In an all-Goodwood derby, the Fairbairn Lions took on JG Meiring, who would have been quietly confident after a fine victory against Parklands the previous week.

However, a look at the two sides’ seasons thus far would have left most people confidently predicting a win for Fairbairn.

What followed was probably the upset of the season thus far. The Meiring boys scored two good tries in the first half after dominating most of the half. They added a further three tries after the break.

The Lions came alive in the second half and scored three good tries of their own, but it was too little, too late and in the end the final whistle went before they were able to secure a fourth try, which would have seen them secure two bonus points. The final score was 31-21 to JG Meiring.

As the league stands, the Bears now finally find themselves top of the log with three matches left to play including Bosmansdam, Edgemead and Table View. They should be hot favourites to win the first two matches, but will be hoping overconfidence doesn’t trip them up. Table View should provide a stern test for them but if all goes well for them until then, even a loss against the Viewies won’t be enough to deny them the title.

There are still four teams with a hope of catching the Bears with JG Meiring, against all expectations, probably in the best position to do so.

They and the likes of Table View, Fairbairn and President will be hoping for upsets when the Bears take on the Knights and the Eagles next term. Can the Green Machine be stopped? We shall have to wait and see. The points are pretty close and anything can still happen.