This match merely proved the long-held theory that even a middling-to-good Western Province Premier A team will beat a strong Boland side just about every time
On a windy but clear afternoon out at Windmeul on Tuesday 7 August 2012 Boland Landbou proved too strong for local rivals Hugenote, recording a comfortable 30-10 victory.
Taking full advantage of a steady tailwind, the hosts built up a virtually unassailable 25-7 lead by half-time. Hugenote, on the other hand, laboured to make any use of the conditions in the second half as the experience and sheer might of the Farmers’ pack made things very difficult for an eight sorely missing the leadership of their inspirational captain, SA Schools lock Gideon Koegelenberg.
Although the siege-gun right boot of Windmeul Warriors’ flyhalf Tian Nel missed a close range penalty in the early stages, it did raised the flags – and more than a few eyebrows – with a superbly judged 55 metre effort in the seventh minute.
The hosts’ decision to set up a line-out from a penalty three minutes later rather than risk the elements paid dividends as the forwards put together several phases resulting in a first try of the season for lively flank Willie Conradie. Nel’s conversion put Landbou 10-0 up.
When Hugenote summed up the conditions they struck back with one of the loveliest tries seen on the Paardeberg paddock this season. A carefully-rehearsed backline move saw quicksilver fullback Daylan Samuels receive a pop-pass between his centres and hurtle over untouched midway through the half. Flyhalf Nelius Hauptfleisch duly reduced the hosts’ lead to just three points. Landbou 10 Hugenote 7
Imbued with renewed self-confidence the visitors actually dominated for a short period, but failed to gain any tangible reward when Hauptfleisch failed with a penalty attempt.
When Boland wrested back the intiative, it came from the most unlikely source. Burly loosehead Evert Grobbelaar, arguably the stand-out player on the day, put in a telling run from a maul before off-loading to imposing tighthead Matthys Basson. Ignoring the double overlap outside him, he made thirty or so metres before releasing just in time to left-wing JC van Reenen, who dotted down his twelfth try of the year midway out. Landbou 15 Hugenote 7
The Farmers were on something of a roll. First Nel extended their lead to eleven points (18-7) via another massive penalty, then right wing Polla Theunissen was forced out on the corner flag and Nel missed a hastuily retaken penalty which shaved the outside of the upright.
Not in the least deterred by these slight disappointments, the hosts maintained the pressure and were rewarded when the forwards boosted hooker Arno van Wyk over next to the posts on the stroke of half-time. Nel added the two points and the Farmers led 25-7.
With Hauptfleisch landing a penalty in the opening minutes of the second period (25-10) and the elements at their backs, the Blackies' hopes may well have started to rise, but they soon found out that their hosts had planned well at the break, keeping the ball among the tight forwards and letting them move play upfield.
The wisdom of these tactics was underlined by the confusion wreaked in the hosts’ own ranks by the occasional deviation from this pattern with several up-and-unders serving only to cost them both territory and possession.
As the Landbou forward domination started to take its toll on the flagging visitors, so the backs became more adventurous, launching several promising attacks which floundered only when WP Schools centre Keagon Gordon’s safe hands uncharacteristically let slip some crucial passes. On the other hand, without first-choice centres Pieter-André Coetzee and Jason le Roux, the Blackies threequarters were tending to run too laterally to pose any real threat.
The final score of the game was the result of a comedy of errors. Landbou knocked on near the Hugenote ten-metre line, with the Blackies doing likewise virtually immediately. Even though the Wellington side gained no apparent advantage from the original mistake, referee Jonathan Kaplan allowed play to proceed, leaving Gordon, the first player to react, a clear run in from 25 metres out.
To compound the bewilderment, the Landbou bench forgot to send out the kicking tee, forcing Nel to attempt – unsuccessfully – to drop kick the simple conversion. Final score : Boland Landbou 30 Hugenote 10.
The outcome of this match merely proved the long-held theory that even a middling-to-good Western Province Premier A team will beat a strong Boland side just about every time. The humour of the situation is that, like the deluded Don Quixote, Hugenote found themselves tilting at windmills, at Windmeul!
By Tony Stoops