It was always going to be a tough day of sport against Maritzburg College, but the 1st Rugby and 1st Hockey teams certainly rose to the occasion, posting 35-27 and 2-1 victories respectively.
It was Old Boys’ Reunion weekend, and the School welcomed, in particular, the groups representing the 1968, 1978, 1988, 1993, 1998 and 2008 Matric groups. The newly renovated balcony of Bowdens Pavilion provided a fitting vantage point for them, as well as an over-capacity crowd, to enjoy an exhilarating afternoon of Rugby.
In the 1st Rugby team game, enterprising play led to five well-worked tries by Nkululeko Mkhwanazi, Zane Korff, Stanley Giani, Philani Luthuli and captain Dylan Labuschagne. All five tries were successfully converted by Labuschagne. Maritzburg College were never going to lie down, and with their strong forwards, were always threatening on attack near the Westville try-line, running in five tries as well. The Westville boys had opportunities to stretch their lead late in the game, but chose to decline two kickable penalties in favour of seeking tries; however, the strong College defence held firm.
This match brings to an end a very demanding season for the 1st Rugby team. After an impressive start to the season in March, they suffered freakish and debilitating injuries to 24 players. These obviously disrupted preparations and caused the coaches to use more than 35 players this season, which had a consequential effect on the other Open Rugby sides. The coaches and the replacement players must be commended on their fortitude in countering these challenges. On another positive note, the younger players gained considerable experience which should benefit the team next year. We now look forward to the Rugby 7’s season starting in late July.
Apart from the 1st team win, the Under 16A team continued to deliver a committed and disciplined performance in their 32-22 victory against a previously undefeated Maritzburg College team. The maturation of this side over the past season is most encouraging, and augers well for the future. The Under 15A team, despite missing four leading players due to injury, also played well to go down in a close encounter 15-24. The Under 14 age-group achieved 4 victories out of the 5 games in this age-group; however, Maritzburg College took the overall Rugby honours winning 12 of the 20 games played.
On the Hockey Astro, the Westville 1st team were most impressive, holding onto a 2-0 lead for most of the game, with goals by Keegan Gibbon and Caleb Carney, who have both been very influential players this season. College responded with a goal towards the end of the game. The Under 16A team were very competitive, achieving a tightly fought 1-1 draw. Generally, all fifteen Hockey games were closely contested, with WBHS achieving 4 wins and 2 draws.