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Motorvaps False Bay overcame a lacklustre first half to regroup and exit the Phillip Herbstein Fields as 36-12 victors over Elto Kuils River on Saturday. The teams broke for oranges with the hosts 17-12 in the lead.


For the second week in a row, the build-up to the main game belonged to the Bay.  Their highflying Under 20 A team swamped the hapless opponents in an 86-0 route, setting up a showdown against rivals and also-unbeaten, Hamilton in a fortnight. The Twos and Threes kept the Bay in the Win column, but that was no guarantee that the result of the main game was a fait accompli.


While Kuils River may not have experienced the best return to the Super League A to date, they are renowned giant-killers and no matter what phase the Bay find themselves in, they are giants in the eye of other clubs, especially returning minnows with a point to prove. Adding spice to an already exciting pot, False Bay Head Coach, Ashley Wells, with a taxing first half to the season, was in the unenviable position of having to keep players kicking their heels on the bench struts to bank much needed victories before this contest.


This, and a smattering of niggling injuries, left Wells’ warriors taking to the pitch with a lack of cohesion resulting from practice-ground perfection against shadows and cushions. Facing them, a bulky and perhaps to date under-performing team scenting victory, one which would reverberate by virtue of it being at Constantia, somewhat of a fortress for Motorvaps False Bay. They created an edge for themselves up front, disrupting the hosts in the scrums, exerting pressure in this phase for at least the first half hour. This extended to another of False Bay’s steady possession streams, the lineouts, which were not as accurate as usual.


False Bay has developed a programme in conjunction with Constantia Primary School, literally 500m up the drag form their grounds, and it was a proud moment for a few of the school’s players to be involved a ball boys on the day. Red letter days for so many.


The opening score went to the visitors, a try by left wing Lethabilie Mqwadleka, a muscular, athletically built flyer who kept the Bay defences on their toes for the opening half hour. The try went unconverted and the narrow lead of the visitors was reduced to two when Bay fullback converted a penalty. That lead was soon extended to ten when “Kuiler” number eighth Siya Matanda crossed the Bay line, fullback Enrico Boonzaaier goaling the kick.


It turned out to be the last time the visitors engaged with the scoreboard handlers, but certainly not the last time they had the hearts of the ample local support fluttering. Motorvaps False Bay were still misfiring, but had begun to settle into a better rhythm, the senior players on the pitch doing as expected, especially calming nerves and focusing attack. One such player, scrumhalf Niyaaz Johnson scored a try, which Hermanus converted. Young flyhalf Mikyle Jaftha, now with a few caps in his cabinet, is beginning to settle down, his confidence growing exponentially, his all-round play showing it. He crossed for his team’s second try, again converted by Hermanus. This score was the last time in the half the scoreboard changed.


With a massive bench in reserve, some diehard optimistic were doing their best to pacify the nervous pessimists in the crowd at the break. Of course, it was sheer bravado on the behalf of the former, Elto Kuils River were far from capitulating, simply never giving up and it was only resolute second-half defence which kept the twelve points for the visitors unchanged in the second forty minutes.


By now the bench were introduced, the first half jitters were navigated and obvious ascendancy was on display. If one may be allowed some negativity, this was replaced by some selfish play as the hosts spent most of the half in the Kuils River half, a rupturing dam wall expected by most. The wall stood firm and the pressure built on the home side. They have enjoyed a very positive SLA2024 campaign to date but the shortage of bonus points through four-try scores weighs heavily on their table and this white-line fever by the ball carrier could continue this trend.


Already on the pitch at this stage was Andrew Good, “on-loan” from the False Bay Under 20s, due recognition for his outstanding performances to date. This elevation is rare yet not unique, but certainly as a tight forward, young Good shows great promise. Much to the delight of the Bay supporters, wing Daniel Hayes and centre Muji van der Hoven crossed the line for Motorvaps False Bay, one of which was converted by Jaftha, gave the final tally of 36-12.


It was heavy going at times, but it was a victory earned out of character. First half players who bore the brunt of a fired-up Elto Kuils River deserve recognition for passing this test, almost without studying due to the tough schedule to date. Whichever way it is dressed, it was a tough encounter, the visitors all too aware that this was the giant-killing opportunity to date, the hosts now fully aware that after every peak performance, such as that against Maties the week before, follows a challenge of higher demand, of a greater test to character and resolve and that the report card lies within.


Motorvaps False Bay have a bye this weekend and then host old rivals, with the alter-ego of dear friends, Hamilton on Saturday 8 June at Constantia.

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