BLITZBAY INTO THE KNOCKOUTS OF WP7s
8 November 2016
After five rounds of round robin pool stages, the WP Club Sevens reaches the business end with the knockout stages taking place on Saturday at Goodwood Sports Ground.
False Bay RFC's Sevens team, affectionately known as Blitzbay, ended the pool stages on top of their table despite losing two of their four final round matches last Saturday. Needing three wins out to remove any speculation to ending in pole position, Blitzbay swept St George's of Strand
aside in a 49-5 rout but then narrowly lost to Bellville 14-19 after a yellow card gave the winners a numerical advantage which they gratefully exploited. Next up was the physically imposing Brackenfell and the Baysuffered their second loss on the day.
Photo: Gavin Withers Photography
Suddenly their backs were against the wall as Durbell, False Bay's friendly rivals, ominously loomed but the Constantia unit stage a fightback to beat the Durbanville team to remain on top of the group and ensure top seeding for the finals.
Played between thirty six of the WPRFU's local clubs, this competition has enthralled those who have made the trip to Milton Road. While the bigger clubs such as Maties, Durbell, False Bay, UWC, Belhar and Brackenfell may have the firepower to deliver game in and game out, the smaller clubs have in no small way contributed to the spectacle through their commitment and entertaining play. Collegians, Eerste River, Macassar and Langa are just a few clubs on the programme delivering sparkling, fast-paced Sevens rugby every week.
It's now that stage of the competition where further participation is decided by the next match. Win and progression to the next knockout stage is the prize. Lose and it is a shower and a seat on the stands in time for the next match. It is a strange oddity of the tournament that sixteen of the eighteen teams in each of the two pools now compete in the knockouts. It is not an impossibility that a bottom four finisher can win the tournament.
Maties suffered defeat twice last Saturday, encouraging the belief of the minnows that glory is theirs for the taking. The winner of the tournament will be required to win five matches in one afternoon which is effectively "last-team-standing" scenario given that pool stages had four matches per day with a lot less at stake. "Title hopes can so easily be crushed by the wicked bounce of a rugby ball or a single moment of brilliance" says Blitzbay coach Pieter Benade. "We have a good chance to progress deep into the playoffs but we have our work cut out for us".
With the Bay's main squad participating in the Gold Cup until last week, Benade has used a core of players who are no less talented and who have risen to the challenge. "Leon Oliver and Curtley Johnson have caught the eye", says Benade, "while Leighton "Kat" Bezuidenhout's captaincy has been outstanding". Meanwhile the Bay celebrated their most successful year in their 87 year history when they held Annual Awards Dinner at the Kelvin Grove last Friday night. Their six competitive senior teams all ended in the top three of their respective leagues, the First and Sixth XVs each taking their respective titles. Their Under 21 As were the first non-University team in their league.
The WP Sevens wraps up on Saturday. False Bay's first knockout match is against Silvertree and kicks off at 12 noon. The Goodwood Sports Grounds are in Milton Road, Goodwood.
- Scribe: Jon Harri