SLA2014 WEEK 1 WRAP

False Bay RFC got off to a very successful start of their SLA2014 season.

 

On Saturday four teams travelled to Green Point. The matches for unclear reasons could not take place at Green Point Track, the home of SK Walmers. It may have had something to do with the International Food Fair taking place at the CT Stadium, which in turn caused traffic mayhem before and after the matches.

 

Instead, all four matches took place at SKW’s ‘other’ fields (lucky club to have a back up), best described as the Hammies fifth field, hidden in the corner. In fact it is municipal fields and belongs to neither club, but that’s beside the point.

 

It was a very hot Autumn day, with the temperature exceeding 31 degrees C. Preparation for any match is as much process as any other regular event. This incorporates the personal rituals, you know wearing the same undies every match or putting the right boot on before the left etc. Causing disarray and much adjustment to the pre-game preparedness was an absence of changerooms. It did appear, by virtue of their point of entry onto the pitch as though SKW had access to changerooms, but none were available for the Bay teams.

 

Again, this only a reflection on the facility’s capacity to host a big day such as this.

 

The main pitch, although meeting minimum standards of measurement, was a few metres narrower than the average SLA pitch. This affected both teams in each contest but did rob the spectators of the opportunity to see some speedy backs explore space. As the main game approached, a very sizeable crowd built up, probably well in excess of one thousand.

 

With the pitch being narrower, there was not sufficient space outside of the cordoning, especially on the Stadium side, and the crowd encroached on what may be termed ‘the referee’s space’, and at times made the task of line-judging rather difficult. It also meant that the crowd was no more than 5 metres from the players and the Bay flyhalf, Andri Claasens was met with very unsporting jeering as he attempted a few kicks at goal from close to the touchline. Normally this would not be as intrusive had the crowd been kept further from the pitch, and was tantamount to having someone shouting in one’s ear from 10cm away. The sportsmanship of the jeering is another issue completely. Fortunately Adnaan Osman, the accomplished kicker of SKW, suffered no such treatment from the sizeable False Bay support.

 

I witnessed 4 full matches and snippets of a fifth on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. What struck me is the enthusiasm with which the False Bay players play their game and the enjoyment they derive as a result. This is a direct result of coaching and due credit needs to be apportioned to the band of coaches and managers involved at all levels of False Bay RFC.

 

The U20As played on another field alongside. Organisation at this pitch was a little erratic. Initially, there were no pole protectors and the one dead ball line was not painted, so a heavy marine rope was strung along by Bossie to replace the whitewash. Nevertheless, this reported in a lighthearted manner as glitches were overcome. The decision to move the games to this venue was taken late and effective communications to the Municipality was compromised.

 

The False Bay U20As overcame their opponents and had they played with more accuracy (excusable under the conditions), the score would have been a lot different than the already impressive 27-13 victory. Well done lads.

 

The Third XV dominated their opponents from the start, running in six tries in their 44-0 victory over SKW. Chris de Klerk scored a hat trick and Stu Lawson bagged a brace. A special mention to a formidable prop who has joined the Bay ranks. This year False Bay has a wealth of quality props and hookers with even the Third XV pillars of the scrum more than capable to step up to the First XV. A young Namibian lad has joined and if his nickname wasn’t already enough reason for legend status, he ensured that by a tackle that was felt in his hometown as he felled an unfortunate SKW ball carrier. Trokkie is already a legend at the Bay.

 

The Seconds came up against a feisty and determined SKW and their maturity in weathering the hosts’ initial storm was key to their victory. By now the crowd was building and excitement was mounting, but Ryan van Niekerk’s charges kept their focus and systematically dismantled their opponents to deliver a 35-12 victory and extend their unbeaten run to 25 matches.

 

The Bay First XV came back from a 10-0 deficit to bag a hardfought victory by 11-10. A match report will follow, but the enormity of this victory extends way beyond league points. It meant far more in a mental context for a new Coaching panel, the players confirmed their SLA readiness by beating the team which finished 6th in SLA2013 and it reaffirmed the Bay’s capacity to withstand a late match onslaught and defend a slim lead.

 

On Friday night the Fifths, under new coach Alan Footman banked a well-deserved 8-3 victory over Helderberg at Constantia, while Froggie Douglas’ FIFOs blame themselves for their loss to Durbell away despite a dominance in many facets of the game. Their final score was 10-15.