FALSE BAY READY TO START THE 2019 SEASON
FALSE BAY READY TO START THE 2019 SEASON
The dress-rehearsals are done, the curtain is set to rise on the much anticipated SLA2019 competition and DirectAxis False Bay have two tough away encounters to usher in their season.
The Bay travel to Green Point Track to face SK Walmer in the cauldron. The Kloof are never an easy team to beat, no matter the venue, and their home fortress means all visiting teams have their work cut out for them.
False Bay has a three-game friendly programme as preparation for this season. Their first outing was against Collegians of Mitchells Plain, initially an away match but shifted to False Bay as the Collegians pitch is completely threadbare. On the face of it, one may see the problem as just a match venue issue, but the facilities are unsuitable for training too and an alternative venue has had to be found. “We practice in Mandalay, where we have secured facilities to train” says Armien Brink, the Collegians Chairman. “The players are committed and keen to make this season a good one but the situation with our fields is very disruptive”. The character of the entire Collegians club shines through and was inspiring in the build-up to this season.
False Bay coach Johnno van der Walt and his panel have been hard at work with their players since November and have learnt a lot from the matches they have had to date. For one False Bay has a new captain in Thabo Ncgongo. The young flanker, who represented the club's flagship team with distinction in every match last season, had his captaincy credentials tested over the period as van der Walt sought to rest senior players and give those on the threshold an opportunity to stake claims.
"We have given youngsters a chance and rested our more fancied starters", said van der Walt. "We can train and simulate as much as we like but playing games and being put under pressure is the only way one can improve execution".
The coach has a simple philosophy when it comes to primary preparation to pay the game. Fitness. His teams have demonstrated this through his time at the helm, even in last season's drought-affected competition, where all forms of training on pitches were severely restricted. "We are fit, ready and excited for the league season, said van der Walt, "and our match fitness will get better in the weeks to come".
Player depth is healthy at False Bay. Not only do the four "Saturday" teams appear strong and motivated, but the Constantia club has three teams entered in the Reserve League which plays on Friday nights. Of these teams, two undertook successful mini-tours up the Garden Route, building friendships amongst team mates and opposition alike.
The False Bay Under 20 team has fared exceptionally well in their friendly match campaign. Coached by Mark Lindenberg, the squad is enthusiastic, fit and focused and show promise of competing with the traditional leaders in this leader, the Universities. A sign of this promise is surely the team's victory over the Tygerberg Under 20 team in their recent friendly, the first time the Constantia boys have taken the result in any format in a number of years.
The big test is Saturday, however. While the purpose of club rugby runs deeper than first teams, the performances of every club's standard-bearer is what is noted, and the decider of which league the whole club contests. It is all eyes on Ncgonke and his team come Saturday. They doubtlessly are aware of what faces them and it is this which makes the contest at the Track so inviting.
SK Walmer are determined, many of their players attended False Bay's final friendly match against Brackenfell to absorb what they could about their opposition. It is, however the ability of the Green Point team to produce moments of magic in a match which makes them a threat. Just as it appears they have been knocked out of contention in a contest, they rise up and score from an unseemingly impossible position. It is a deadly arrow in their quiver, exciting to watch yet nerve-wracking for opposition supporters.
Kick off at Green Point Track is at 4pm and the match day programme starts at 1.30.