The Community Cup and 2015 season got off to a bang last weekend as the Hamilton 1st XV took the Great Trek up to Kathu in the Northern Cape.
An early start on Friday morning saw the boys depart Cape Town at 6 am as we took the first leg to Kimberly on SAA only to arrive to a bus that was experiencing technical issues. Our delay was just on 3 hours before we finally left on the road to our hotel in Kathu.
The team were extremely surprised to find such a developing town in this desolate area with a population of 120000 residents.
With this development comes employment and talent and this was evident in the Aveng Moolmans Sishen side we faced on Saturday. They were far from the team we faced at this stage in 2014, well coached and with some exciting new players who were prepared to do anything for the win.
They mounted wave after wave of attack from kick off and eventually slotted early penalties to lead 6 nil after a number of infringements at the breakdown.
Hamilton’s responded with a try after 30 minutes as debutant Seb Ferreira went over from a line out. Shane Vallender converted to make it 7-6.
With Sishen continuing to apply pressure they were rewarded on half time with a fine individual effort out wide to see them take an 11-10 lead into the break.
Team tactics were addressed at half time, however our reaction was not immediate as Sishen struck first with a penalty which was followed in quick succession by a well worked try off the line out, which saw them exploit some poor defence and take a 21-10 lead with 20 minutes to go.
Substitutions were made and we started to fire and launch our comeback. Morgan Newman the first to dot down after a clever change of direction from scrum half Ryno Rust.
Sishen extended their lead to 24-17 after another misdemeanor at ruck time by our boys. The senior members of the squad stood up and the calls were coming through confidently and with good effect. Niel Cleghorn went over from a well worked drive which was not converted to leave us 2 behind with 5 minutes to play.
We managed to get down into Sishen’s half and applied pressure which earned us the final penalty. Shane Vallender made no mistake and we lead by a single point with minutes remaining.
We held on for the last few of minutes with Janno Van Zyl making a fantastic tackle close to our line to ensure that we came away with the spoils.
The trip back was an exceptional 14hr bus trip which was a great team building session.We have shown the tenacity and self belief and now need to refocus ahead of our next game.
In all, great to get the win away from home but in truth we have hard work ahead of us as we strive to lift our game another 30% going into the Wanderers fixture at home this weekend.
Man of The Match: Janno van Zyl
By Head Coach – Anton Moolman