After three SLA fixtures, Hamilton SP-RFC are joint log leaders with False Bay RFC after an emphatic home win against NNK this past weekend. Once again the match was played in sweltering hot weather conditions in Green Point.
The Easter weekend break allowed Head Coach, Niekkie Viljoen to consider his selection options by making a couple of change from the team that won away at Brackenfell RFC. He went for a 5/2 split with Tight Head Prop; Wesley Cloete getting his first start of the season and Eighth-man, Patrick O’Brien made a welcome return from injury for his first start of the 2017 campaign. Positional changes as Siya Alam started at Flyhalf and Shane Vallender was moved to Fullback while Marlo Weich moved to wing. Both Niezaar Roos (Wing/Centre) and Luke van der Smit (Flank) were not considered for selection because of injury and overseas, respectively.
Just before kick-off, Bomba Bakeni (Prop) withdrew because of illness and this allowed for Albert “Boeta” Loubscher to start from the bench after playing for the “Seccies” in the curtain raiser.
NNK RFC was playing their first league fixture of the season and was ready and fresh against the much more fancied Hamilton SP-RFC. Hammies started very well and scored within 5 minutes when Scrumhalf, Louis Nel scored a converted try from an attacking 5 meter scrum. The next 30 minutes belonged to NNK as they scored three penalties from silly errors from the home team. To make matters worse was the fact we lost Hooker, Greg van Jaarsveld with a calf injury after 17 minutes and then flanker; Niel Cleghorn was yellow carded in the 25 minute for infringements at the break-down.
Down 9-7 after 35 minutes, Hamilton’s started getting their act together and showed the home support what they are about…. From an attacking lineout in the NNK 22 meter area, Centre, Jason Kriel scored the first of his two tries from a good backline move and his try was converted by Flyhalf, Siya Alam.
The best try of the match came soon afterwards. From the kick-off, Hammies progressed forward with several phases before a blindsided move saw winger, Brandon Asher-Wood out sprint his opposite winger and score with a 40 meter dash. Suddenly we were looking good for a 19-9 lead at the break.
The second half started as the first half ended with Hammies drawing blood within a minute of the restart when Patrick O’Brien made a terrific attacking break with a strong 30 meter run. From a quick ruck ball, Niel Cleghorn made amends with his earlier yellow by taking a pass from Louis Nel to score our bonus point try.
Eight minutes into the second half, NNK were dealt a terrible blow when their playmaker, Jonty Gray unfortunately severely fractured his ankle after been tackled 5 meters short of the Hammies line. Our Doctor, Caroline D’Alton and Fitness Coach, Graham Bentz did a terrific job in stabilizing the injured player. The Referee halted the match for 20 minutes while the medical staffs were attending to the NNK player on the field of play. Well done to the Referee….
The game was restarted with a converted NNK penalty to make the score 12-24 after 48 minutes. The next 32 minutes, Hamilton’s showed their superiority and fitness by running in five tries without respond. Man of the Match, Jason Kriel got his second try of the game after 50 minutes that was converted by Fullback, Shane Vallender. Ten minutes, Brandon Asher-Wood got his second after a brilliant turnover from a NNK knock-on in the midfield because of the endless pressure that our backs exerted on their opposition. This pressure was once again evident when winger, Marlo Weich intercepted on the NNK 10 meter line to score under the posts. We were awarded a penalty try eight minutes from time after NNK kept on infringing from a 5 meter attacking lineout by purposely collapsing a driving maul. They also got a yellow card for their efforts! On the stroke of fulltime, Niel Cleghorn who was then playing Eighth-man scored his second of the game from a terrific pushover try. Shane Vallender converted and Hamilton SP-RFC ran out convincing 59 -12 winners.