In a thoroughly enjoyable celebration of Club Rugby and friendly rivalry, Motorvaps False Bay beat Hamilton RFC 45-12 at Constantia on Saturday. The halftime score was 24-5.
With intermittent rain making its presence felt throughout the day, spectators were expected to wrap up warmly in front of the telly, but that was not to be. Spectators, partisan and just club rugby enthusiasts attended in their hundreds and were treated to four entertaining matches.
Kicking off the programme were the Under 20 A teams, Hamilton unbeaten and False Bay breathing down their necks with only one loss to date. Perhaps befitting the occasion, renowned referee, Rasta Rashivenga had been appointed as the man in the middle, his expertise adding value to the contest. False Bay were narrow 25-22 winners of a breath-taking contest. Adding to the spectacle was the Third XVs match. There is no Third Team League this year as clubs rebuild player depth, but kudos to a number of clubs in the Union who have developed numbers and depth, sufficient to arrange an informal league and in this case. Add to the magic of the day. False Bay ran out 49-7 victors.
Next up was another top of the table clash between the Second XVs of the clubs, the hosts unbeaten, the visitors lying second. The Bay second-stringers produced another quality performance in their 36-7 victory over their Sea Point rivals.
Before we shift our focus to the main event, two other squads deserve acknowledgement. Firstly, False Bay’s Under 20B, playing as guests of the UCT Internal League, beat the powerful Nadoes, 17-14 with a display of quality running rugby. Then on Friday, the False Bay Women’s team narrowly lost 12-7 to Maties Women’s, an early try from deep in Maties territory separating the teams.
Back to the main event, and with the sizable crowd perfectly primed by entertaining rugby and meeting up of old friends last seen before Lockdown, the teams took to the pitch, a sombre note the first order of events. False Bay Rugby Club Life Member and true Club Rugby icon, Brian Peters, was acknowledged with a moment’s silence after passing away earlier in the week.
False Bay, motivated by many factors, the popular man’s passing amongst them, were determined to bank a bonus point victory. Hamiltons however reminded all that it takes two teams to make a game, otherwise it is called shadow rugby. They opened the scoring with a try by left wing Valentino Wellman after a clearance kick had been charged down. That was to be the last score for the visitors in the opening stanza, although not for lack of trying.
Settling down after the score, the Bay opted to take the points when awarded a penalty, and flyhalf Ewan Adams narrowed the difference to two with his conversion. This did not quell the fire in the bellies of the visitors, who simply never stood back, their forwards piling in and their backs running with purpose.
Coach Johnno van der Walt and assistant, Slab Williams, chasing their 150th victory for the Bay since taking over their respective roles, are not prone to panic and have instilled a similar ethos. Busy scrumhalf, Niyaas Johnson opened False Bay’s try account with a try, converted by Adams, and there was no stopping prop Wayrin Losper on his way to the line. Adams converted and a few minutes later scored a try off a power scrum by his forwards, which he converted. The Constantia team was 24-3 in the lead, not nearly enough to breathe easy against this Hamiltons team, but it was a respectable half-time lead.
Bay centre, Morne Small, delivering one of his best performances for the club, scored early in the second half, again goaled by Adams, and local support were breathing easier with the 26 point difference on the scoreboard. That daylight on the electronic scoreboard, while deserved by False Bay, was at the same time perhaps unflattering to the visitors. They are a fine team, their big and athletic backline possessing speed and guile to score at will but the accuracy in execution was perhaps their greatest downfall. All too often their promising attacks were stymied by a misdirected pass or dropped ball, rendering an attack impotent.
False Bay scored a sweeping try, started from their own half off a turnover, a display of exciting counter-attack, deft handling and white-line fever, scorer Johnson getting his brace, Adams again converting.
A thoroughly entertaining day of rugby, all of 180 plus players contributing to the vibe of the day. In the main game, outstanding players for Hamiltons were lock Ross Taylor and centres Donald Falconer and Andries Viljoen. For False Bay skipper Thabo Ncondo, Small, Johnson and lock Godwin Mangenje were outstanding, while wing Danie Roux again delivered a busy performance. It gave the van der Walt/Williams coaching combo their 150th victory out of 172 games, reason for celebration all round.
False Bay have a bye on Saturday and then host Maties in Constantia next Saturday, 13 August.