Gimmies Win with Thrilling Finish
In a Premier Interschools match in sunny Paarl on Saturday, Paarl Gim beat Affies 35-33 with a converted try in stoppage time.
Those final minutes, with Gim hammering at the Affies line, a succession of penalties against the defenders and the bundle of players that went over the line for a try by huge Adriaan Ludick, were agonising. And emotions nearly burst in the silent tension of Daniël Beukes's conversion.
Then the dam burst and gleeful Gimmies flooded the field to celebrate with their heroes.
The match was a great advertisement for schoolboy rugby - both intense and free flowing. Defences, despite the score, were tough and contests for the ball, especially after tackles, intense, and yet there were tries - 10 of them, five each. The difference at the end was a solitary conversion.
Affies were a strong side. Their forwards were stronger in the scrums, more effective at ruck and tackle and better in the line-out where they took five Gim throws. But they paid the price of many penalties. The penalty count was 16-6 against them, building rapidly at the end when Gim laid siege to their line.
Gim had an early chance when a penalty gave them a five-metre line-out but the throw missed everybody, Affies got it but knocked on. From the five-metre scrum, Gimmies went left - Hanro Geldenhuys to Daniël Beukes to captain Muller du Plessis who scored. From touch, Daniël Beukes converted. 7-0 after 4 minutes.
From a maul, Affies went wide with Zach Briel to take them forward. They attacked and Gim were penalised five metres from their line. Livewire scrumhalf Johan Mulder took a tap and diving low scored under the posts. Flyhalf Charles Goedhals converted. 7-7 after 11 minutes.
Both sides ran with enthusiasm, but when Affies won a line-out and Charles Goedhals chipped, Daniël Beukes charged the kick down, gathered and scored a try as Regardt Roets tried to tackle him from behind. 14-7 after 18 minutes.
Then came the try of the match - well, the most breathtaking, though not as emotional as the last one.
There was a scrum on the Gimmies 10-metre line. They went left and outside centre Dawid Kellerman broke clean through and with long, swerving strides, he sped down the field, a run of some 65 metres. At the line, Ruben Meiring brought him down but somehow Dawid Kellerman slipped the ball to Muller du Plessis who was at his right side and the captain plunged over for his second try. 21-7 after 22 minutes.
Back came Affies with some splendid inter-passing till a long pass by flank Jaco Labuschagne put left wing Ruben Meiring in for a try. 21-12 after 26 minutes.
Affies had a long period on attack but their handling let them down as twice they passed into touch. Marnus Potgieter was close but lost the ball and it was fly-kicked away. Then they won a Gim line-out and attacked again with big prop James Combrink rumbling over. Regardt Roets converted, and the half-time score was 21-19, a preview of the final score.
Affies, two points down, had a penalty on the Gim 22 and slap in front of the posts, but they opted to kick out for a five-metre line-out. (There were no penalty goals in the match.) They mauled and were close but knocked on.
A penalty brought Affies back and they bashed over and over. When Gim were penalised five metres from their line Johan Mulder did it again - tapped, dived low and scored. Regardt Roets's conversion gave Affies the lead for the first time in the match. 26-21 after 49 minutes.
Gim now took Affies on in the forwards - mauling better than the Pretorians did and using pick-n-go. A close ball transfer from Francois Staples, on for his twin Adriaan, send lock Ryno Beukes over for a try and Gim had the lead back. 28-26.
Gim kicked and Affies countered. Affies kicked and Gim countered. But Affies came back and Ruben Meiring burst between two defenders to score. Regardt Roets converted from touch and, with 10 minutes to go, Affies led 33-28.
Now the famous "Gimmies guts" came to the fore as they attacked relentlessly, helped by Affies' infringements.
Gim had a five-metre line-out and mauled. They tapped a penalty and bashed.
Time was up when Affies were penalised nine metres inside their own half. The laws of the day allowed Gim to kick out for a line-out. They attacked. The besieged Affies lost a player to the sin bin.
No.8 Henco Martins had a strong run down the left. Gim went wide right and then left again till they were bashing at the line. The ball went to Adriaan Ludick and several of his players clubbed together to force him over for the try that tied the match.
Then came the breathless hush and Daniël Beukes's winning conversion.
As Kobus Louw was fond of saying: "Rugby was the winner."
For Paarl Gim:
Tries: Muller du Plessis 2, Ryno Beukes, Daniël Beukes, Adriaan Ludick
Cons: Daniël Beukes 5
Tries: Johan Mulder 2, Ruben Meiring 2, James Combrink
Cons: Charles Goedhals, Regardt Roets 3
Affies: 15 Regardt Roets, 14 Ruan Wasserman, 13 Marnus Potgieter, 12 Zach Briel, 11 Ruben Meiring, 10 Charles Goedhals, 9 Johan Mulder, 8 Philip Potgieter, 7 Jaco Labuschagne, 6 Divhan du Preez, 5 Carl Els, 4 Michael de Waal, 3 James Combrink, 2 Janco Uys, 1 Wihan Bezuidenhout
Replacements: 16 Marius Potgieter, 17 Dewald Donald, 18 Sarel Joubert, 19 Michael Harding, 20 Reinhardt Ras, 21 Steyn van der Spuy, 22 Jeandré du Piesanie, 23 Jason Scheepers
Coaches: Jaco Koch, Jan–Hendrik Hattingh
Paarl Gim: 15 Muller du Plessis, 14 Stravino Jacobs, 13 Dawid Kellerman, 12 Ruben Scholtz, 11 Hanco Hanekom, 10 Daniël Beukes, 9 Hanro Geldenhuys, 8 Henco Martins, 7 Dean Nieuwoudt, 6 Corné Uys, 5 Ryno Beukes, 4 Adriaan Ludick, 3 Adriaan Staples, 2 Chris Rossouw, 1 Daniël Wessels
Replacements: 16 Hugo Pienaar, 17 Francois Staples, 18 Dedrich Glas, 19 Dré Engelbrecht, 20 AJ Wedgwood, 21 Jean Janse van Rensburg, 22 Janke du Toit, 23 Curt Mackier
Coaches: Pieter Rossouw, Helmut Lehmann
Referee: Divan Uys (Western Province Referees' Society)
Assistant referees: Hennie Daniller (Western Province Referees' Society), Dylan Francke (Western Province Referees' Society)