Match day two in the 2017 SLA was away outing against the much improved Brackenfell RFC. The game was played in sweltering hot weather conditions on a hard dry surface and this all because of the current drought that is crippling our beautiful Cape.
Head Coach, Niekkie Viljoen made two changes from the team that drew against False Bay. Greg van Jaarsveld (Hooker) returning from a calf injury after a short spell with the “Seccies”, got his first start of the season while Justin Moberly (Lock) made his debut after missing the season’s opener because of a bereavement in his family. Jason Kriel (Centre) made his first start after playing off the bench against False Bay.
The job at hand was to win well and also gain a valuable a four try bonus point. In the end Hamilton SP-RFC won 26 – 24 with a bonus point but gave the home team too much respect in the closing minutes of the game by allowing them a credible losing bonus point. We started well but yet found ourselves 3-0 down halfway through the first-half. Brackenfell to their advantage were playing very well considering the fact that they had just come off a solid away bonus point win the weekend before against SK Walmers.
They were disruptive at lineout time and got numbers in at the ruck. Hamilton’s seemed to be playing a waiting game and was looking for options to launch an attack from set phase ball. Eventually after 26 minutes a brilliant set phase move from an attacking 5 man lineout outside the Brakke 22 meter line saw a well-executed try by the away team.
A solid take off the back of the lineout with a perfect timed short pass by the inside-centre, Morne Smal to winger, Brandon Asher-Wood saw a great inside outside step to score his second try in so many weeks. Leading 5-3 at the break our game plan had to be changed and a win was now the only option. Hammies as they did in the previous week against False Bay never allowed Brackenfell to cross the advantage line with ferocious tackling that kept all home team attacks at bay. In fact for 65 minutes of the game Brackenfell did not seem as they were able to score as they were launching attacks from deep.
In fact our second try came through a Brackenfell attack from their own 22 that saw a misplaced kick come off flyhalf, Shane Vallender who kicked and gathered the ball to score next to the right hand side upright. He converted his own try and Hamilton took a good 12-3 lead after 15 minutes of the second-half.
Minutes later saw what must be the best try of the game. It started just outside our 22 meter line went back inside our 22 after replacement Hooker, Robbie Trueman was brilliantly tackled backwards and still managed to offload a pass backwards to MOTM – Shane Vallender.
Shane then attempted a quick lofted pass that was knocked on by the opposition before Robbie Trueman who got up from the tackle gathered the ball in his 22 to set up substitute flyhalf, Siya Alam who broke blind and cut infield for a superb 40 meter run before putting ever present flanker, Luke van der Smit away score a terrific converted try.
Brackenfell eventually broke the strong Hammies defence by capitalising on another handling error by scoring a converted try of their own in the 62 minute to reduce the score to 19-10. With 12 minutes left on the clock, the bonus point try came through flanker, Ross Beckett who made a great turn over on the half way line and offloaded to Marlo Weich on his outside who in turn made a very good inside pass to replacement Centre, Kobus Loubser who broke the line with pace before a brilliant return pass to his outside for Weich to score a converted try giving Hammies a 16 point lead.
With just eight minutes left of play, Hamilton’s went to 14 men after Bomba Bakeni was yellow carded and paid the penalty.
Brackenfell scored from the quick penalty tap kick 10 meters out and converted to reduce the score to 26-17. From yet another handling error, Brackenfell scored a converted try with the last move of the game. We came away with the bonus point win but let ourselves down with a sloppy display in the last 10 minutes of the match and all credit to Brackenfell for their strong finish.
We have welcome break for Easter weekend and then a home game against NTK on Saturday 22 April 2017 followed by four home and away games on the trot for the month of May 2017.
Image Credit & Match Images – Chris Young