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3 June 2017

Photos: Courtesy Matthew Withers Photography

DirectAxis False Bay repulsed a late Belhar second half assault to run out deserved winners at Constantia on Saturday. The Bay won 42-27 after leading 20-11 at the break.


It was the home side which found themselves under immediate pressure as Belhar wing Joel Booysen scored in the corner after a Bay clearance kick resulted in a chargedown. One try down with the first minute incomplete against a more than capable outfit meant that the Bay had their work cut out and with the wind swirling in all directions, goalkicking was a challenge.


That said, fullback Adnaan Osman reduced the lead of the visitors with a penalty before Belhar’s Junaid Arendse converted a penalty to restore the five point lead. Arendse’s impressive kicking performance was to prove key to his team’s ability to contest the result, his near perfect record keeping his team within striking distance of the hosts throughout the contest.


The Bay settled down and started getting their phase play going. The first of their six tries was a classic of many facets. Set up off good second phase ball, outside centre Carl Kohne showed sublime skills through deft footwork, pace and then a long, accurate pass to wing Mustaqueem Jappie who scored with some work to do. Shortly afterwards eighthman Ryan Olivier crashed over after a move which saw the Bay loop around three rucks to take the score to 13-8. Arendse kept the visitors drooling at the heels of the hosts with another well taken penalty before Jappie scored the second of his brace, which Osman converted to give False Bay their nine-point half-time lead.


Arendse reduced that lead with another penalty to again bring the difference within one converted try. On the day he converted five penalties and one try to account for seventeen of his team’s points, no small contribution by any means.


The second half, as per much of the first half saw the Constantia outfit playing most of the structured rugby, while the visitors fed off errors and spilled ball, of which there was ample with the quantity of rugby the Bay was playing. Not to imply that Belhar were forced to scavenge for survival. Indeed they contested well, their forwards with big lock Ivor van der Merwe in the vanguard never standing back to the physicality of the Bay forwards, dishing out as good as they got. Flank Godwin Menenje and eighthman Zolani Mofu were prominent on the day. Behind this physically ample pack, halfbacks Jonathan Adams and Dennis Cox used their possession wisely and kept their team in the game.


False Bay took a seemingly comfortable lead when wing Roemark Smith dribbled and collected a loose pass to score under the poles. Osman converted and the Bay’s lead was extended to thirteen points with about a quarter of the match remaining. As they were to discover on the day, never write Belhar off. Arendse reduced the lead to seven points with two more penalties. By this time the full False Bay bench had been utilised. Replacement scrumhalf Ridhaa Damon was felled by a late and high tackle which resulted in his exit, the tackler receiving a yellow-carded for the infringement. Starting scrumhalf Dylon Frylinck, who was one of his team’s standout players, was legally allowed to return to the fray much to chagrin of the visiting support.


A seven point game and a highly motivated opposition, False Bay had to defend like demons and it was a piece of mastery by Belhar flyhalf Cox which had local hearts over-revving. On his own 22 metre line he noticed that the Bay defensive line was lying very flat and chipped over their heads. Rapid wing Jerome Niumala, a man who had demonstrated his pace and elusiveness all afternoon collected and outstripped the scrambling defence for a try under the poles, which needless to say Arendse stroked over.


Fifteen minutes to go with the scores tied and Belhar were at their most dangerous and motivated. It was clear that any transgression in their own half would see Arendse going for poles and position his team for an upset. Instead Osman slotted a penalty to reinstate False Bay’s lead, still way too close for comfort. Until a darling of the home team stamped his hallmark on the game. Playing at outside centre and having served his time in the sin bin for a dubious tackle, Danie Roux scored two tries in typical fashion. All hustle, bustle and power, his tries took the game out of the reach of the determined visitors and delivered a result which the home side deserved.


Outstanding for False Bay were flank Michael Botha, Kohne, Olivier and centre Riaan O’Neill who delivers top performances week in and week out. Lock Brent Stevens did the job and more, his physicality a match to that of his opponent, van der Merwe. Frylinck was outstanding and flyhalf Meyrick Ward got the dangerous Bay backs away with his slick distribution. Replacement wing Niyaas Johnson brought energy and vibrance when he entered the fray and replacement hooker Caleb Rightford showed his ability.


It was an exciting encounter, entertaining and uncompromising. Victory is not the domain of the favourites and Behar showed that any result is there for the taking as long as the scoreboard is kept ticking. Conversely, False Bay showed their pedigree in absorbing everything that came their way, never panicking and exiting the field of contest deservedly victorious.


False Bay has a two week break before they host NTK on Saturday 23 June at Constantia.   


- Jon Harris

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