Saturday saw arguably the biggest Schoolboy Rugby Game of the season in the Coastal area when two of the top rugby schools in the province, Westville and Glenwood clashed on Dixon Field at Glenwood Boys’ High school. It was Glenwood’s Founders Day and a capacity crowd turned out to watch what was anticipated to be a fierce battle between two teams that have both hit top form after an indifferent start to their respective seasons.
Glenwood drew first blood, making the visitors pay for trying to run the ball out of their 22m. A turnover at the tackle gave the home team the ball and a clever chip in behind forced Westville to carry the ball over and dot down in the ingoal area. From the ensuing scrum, Craven Week No. 8, Marco Palvie got over the advantage line with a powerful carry and from the ruck, prop Christopher Klopper crashed over. Flyhalf, Jerome Bossr converted to give Glenwood a 7-0l lead as early as the 5th minute of the game.
Westville were on the scoreboard minutes later through a well struck penalty from flyhalf Niel Van Rooyen. The game then settled down into a tactical struggle for dominance at the gainline with both teams competing fiercely in the contact area and at the breakdown. Westville’s first try came three quarters of the way through the half. A well controlled lineout drive took the ball into Glenwood’s 22m. From there, the Westville forwards controlled the ball through a series of rucks which steadily took them closer to the home team’s tryline. A powerful carry from Craven Week lock Fudge Qoma, saw him burst through two tacklers to score to the right of the poles. Van Rooyen’s conversion went wide but the visitors took the lead, which they were never to relinquish for the remainder of the game.
Westville’s second try was created by Van Rooyen who sent a delicate chip into the space behind the Glenwood backline. A kind bounce found winger, Tonny Mahlangu in space and he raced in to score under the uprights. Van Rooyen added the extras and Westville led 15 – 7 late in the first half.
At the ensuing kickoff, Westville were caught at the breakdown and Glenwood’s Bossr closed the gap to 5 points with a well struck penalty.
Van Rooyen restored Westville’s 8 point lead with another penalty early in the second half and this scored remain untouched until the dramatic dying minutes of the game when Glenwood’s flanker Alex Brummer crashed over after a long period of pressure in Westville’s red zone. Bossr closed the gap to one point and set up a dramatic final three minutes. Westville’s defence, which had been a standout feature of their game, held firm and the highway team won a breakdown penalty and kicked the ball dead in stoppage time to record a memorable victory.
Westville have endured a particularly tough season and by last Saturday had played 21 games since the beginning of the rugby season. It is a credit to their players and coaches that they have managed to keep themselves focussed and motivated in an exhausting and highly constricted season.
With two games left to play this term they will be hoping that they can maintain the momentum that they have built up.