FALSE BAY SUBDUE BELHAR
Photos courtesy Gavin Withers Photography
DirectAxis False Bay overcame a determined Belhar at Accordian Park on Saturday. The final score was 39-23 after the Bay led 22-6 at half time.
It was obvious that Bay captain Graham Knoop won the toss, opting to play into the stiff wind in the first half. Belhar, unbeaten in their two league matches until Saturday, are a quality outfit difficult to beat on home turf and the calling of the toss proved to be crucial. The hosts, aware that a half time lead was key to victory, took the game to their opponents from the start. They played an aggressive, physical game, announcing to their more fancied opponents an intention not to stand back. Flyhalf Dale Cox broke the ducks on the scoreboard with a smoothly-converted penalty to give his team an early lead.
The Bay were stung into action and replied with a try by powerhouse prop Ashley Wells. The Constantia outfit essentially won this contest in the first half. Their defence was resolute, well-organised as always and steadfast. Belhar managed to contribute to their own downfall during this period with some lacklustre play. Both teams at times allowed the intensity of the occasion to overwhelm them with outbursts of petulance resulting in three yellow cards, the Bay edging their opponents in this statistic too.
Nevertheless, as physically intense as the contest was, DirectAxis False Bay stuck to their systems and whittled away at their opponents. Centre Wesley Hamilton caught the eye with a number of scything line breaks, Belhar scrambling to contain the fallout thereof. His side’s constant pressure resulted in a try by flank Jody Reineke on the seventeenth minute. Moments later wing Mustaqeem Jappie finished off a wonderful hand-to-hand move which thrilled all. Shortly before the break Bay flyhalf Andri Claasen dummied and cut the line to score under the poles. He converted the first of his four first half attempts to give his team their interval score.
Cox converted another penalty to double his team’s score and referee Egon Seconds called time on the first half.
False Bay’s ease at accumulating tries against the strong wind in the first stanza did not bode well for the hosts. Belhar’s big forwards appeared to be tiring, especially lock Ivor van der Merwe, a bull of a man who never stood back. Appearances can be deceiving as he astounded by producing much of the same throughout the second half. Captain Carlo Jacobs never gave up either and eighthman Siphamandla Dama was busy and industrious. It was the manner in which Belhar came back at the Bay in the third quarter which left many pondering the what-ifs had the score been closer at the break. While not detracting from the effort of the home team, referee Seconds did appear intolerant of the Bay’s play as he delivered a spate of penalties against the visitors.
The hosts were the first to score in the second half when centre Willie Scott sliced through and scored. False Bay however are a quality outfit and showed no signs of panic. Quite the contrary in fact. They immediately worked their way deep into Belhar territory, hooker Vlam van Vuuren crashing over after some fine forward driving. Moments later van Vuuren got his second in not dissimilar fashion. By this time veteran Adnaan Osman had taken over kicking duties and converted.
Belhar had no intention of capitulating, in part due to an inspiring half time roasting by former Springbok hooker James Dalton. Left wing Angelo Nelson scored a brace of tries which again reduced the deficit to eleven points. The Bay’s defence, normally steadfast, had been breached twice in a few minutes but they soon regrouped.
False Bay rounded off proceedings with a well executed try by club favourite Danie Roux, who had an outstanding all round game. His wing counterpart, Justin Fielies also delivered a sparkling display. Again scrumhalves Ridhaa Damon and Dylan Frylinck shone, the former silky-smooth and calm and when introduced, the latter all hustle and bustle at the back of a strong pack, which was well-led by Knoop.
DirectAxis travel to Groote Schuur to face UCT on Saturday in what promises to be another typically enthralling contest. Kick off is at 4pm while first matches start at 1.30pm.
The Bay then host UWC on Wednesday 27 April at Constantia. Similarly, matches start at 1.30 with the main event kicking off at 4pm.