NEXT THE PRESIDENT'S CUP FOR STOR-AGE FALSE BAY
by Jon Harris
False Bay RFC finished off their 2014 SLA round robin season in style with an emphatic win over relegation-bound NNK at Constantia on Saturday. The final score was 58-3 after the home team led 12-0 at the break.
NNK were poignantly led onto the pitch by their retiring lock Christo Coulson carrying his daughter, and it was obvious from the outset that they were not about to lie down and take a thrashing. False Bay coach Johnno van der Walt used the opportunity to start his normal bench players and experiment with combinations and positional switches which served to level the odds as they faced a determined NNK.
It took the Constantia outfit a quarter of an hour to register their first score by wing Jacques van Staden which featured a wonderful float pass by prop Frankie Charlie to the other prop, Wesley Chetty and flyhalf Andri Claasens converted. A few minutes later, lock Michael Popmeier toed a loose ball on his own 40 metre line and chased, collecting and feeding scrumhalf Darren Rix for the Bay’s second try.
NNK simply refused to give up in the first half. With fullback Jonty Gray solid on defence and a menace on attack they threw everything at their opponents, aware that the home side’s big guns were kicking their heels on the bench and putting points on the board before their entry was paramount. Breaking the duck on the scoreboard was not easy as the Bay defence stood solid and they repulsed any attempts to breach their lines with loose forwards Simon Askew, Francois Breytenbach and Justin van Winkle a constant threat at the breakdown.
On the 50-minute mark, van der Walt introduced his bench and the pace of the game received a turbo boost which NNK struggled to handle. Wing Justin Fillies, one of the Bay’s standout players on the day, rounded off a try which started when Askew picked up from the base of a strong scrum, handed it to Danie Roux who made ground in typical fashion before setting Fillies off to round the score.
The fight seemed to be knocked out of the visitors and what followed was a try feast with the Bay scoring another seven before the final whistle. Rix and Fillies completed braces as did replacement eighthman Ryan Olivier. Reserve prop Ashley Wells was a delight as he showed his exceptional skills set with deft hands, sidesteps and pace. Ridhaa Damon controlled the game well at the back of the scrum which necessitated the shift of Rix to the wing. Rix showed his pace and sheer determination with ball in hand and was exciting in that position.
Popmeier was rewarded for an outstanding game with a try and Jason Pretorius got his name on the list of try scorers with his late game score. Claasens converted 4.
Gray scored the hapless NNK’s only points with a penalty conversion.
False Bay now finish fifth on the 2014 SLA table having gained promotion at the end of last season. Their Second XV ended in the top half and their Third XV were runners up this season. They have a remarkable 2013/2014 record of having played 32 league matches, winning 30 and only losing 1, testimony to the success of the Constantia club over recent time.
The Bay now contest the quarter finals of the President’s Cup on Saturday 13 September. The finals take place on Saturday 4 October and should the Bay find themselves on the pitch that day, it would have been a full year since they started their pre-season training, a truly long season for any athlete. Admittedly the season did incorporate a 5 week break to accommodate the University teams and their midyear vacation. Ironic then that the three teams representing the two Universities in the Top Six are threatening not to compete in the President’s Cup because of the length of a season extended to accommodate them.