Dale and Grey thrill
SCHOOLS REPORT: In the last two minutes of this ancient rivalry between Dale and Grey High, the lead changed twice, and the second time was a winner.
It was wonderful game on the hard Dale field that they call Graveyard. There were two teams that ran and ran. Kicking was rare as handling dominated, but in the end the difference was goal-kicking. Grey scored five tries to three and lost on the windy afternoon
Grey's kicking performance may well have been affected by the absence of its star flyhalf, LJ du Preez, who was a late withdrawal because of a problem knee. Regular scrumhalf Runaldo Pedro moved out to flyhalf and Praveen Bosch, son of Philip Bosch who was top referee in his day, came in to scrumhalf. Du Preez's has been the side's successful goal-kicker.
The wind may have been a problem, but then the lanky Dale flyhalf, Apelele Fassi missed just one conversion while Grey kicked only one of five.
Dale had first use of the wind and after half an hour led 18-5. In that period, and indeed throughout the match, the Dale captain and flyhalf Fassi was outstanding.
To start with Grey dominated possession and territory but found the defence had going. In fact the defences of both sides at close quarters was exceptional throughout the match. But when Dale got onto Grey ground, the left foot of Fassi opened the score with a penalty and two minutes later he added another seven points.
A penalty gave Dale a five-metre line-out but they avoid a confrontation with the Grey pack and the ball went left to Fassi who glided over for a try, which he converted. 10-0 after 14 minutes.
When a penalty gave Grey a five-metre line-out they mauled and drove and scored, the try credited to sturdy hooker Ruan Jonker. 10-5 after 20 minutes.
Fassi it was who created Dale's second try. He grubbered behind the Grey backs, gathered the ball himself and the next thing the Dale fullback Makabongwe Dlepu cut in for a try. 15-5 which became 12 8-5 when Fassi goaled a long, angled penalty.
Two penalties against Dale's, ended with a five-metre line-out to Grey, some bashing at the line in which Bevan Prinsloo was close twice till Waqar Solaan wrestled the ball to ground for a try. 18-10, which was the half-time score.
Dale started attacking with a ling run by outside centre Siphamandla Matsinya. But back came Grey on attack on the right with Solaan darting sharply. Jonker kicked and, from about 12 metres from their line, Dale came away with the ball, switching play to their right where Matsinya raced downfield and kicked infield to have the pleasure of seeing Fassi scoring his second try. 25-10 after 45 minutes and a breathless passage of Dale's attack, Grey attack and Dale attack without any stoppage.
Then Dale were in trouble. They lost a player to the sin bin and Grey kicked the penalty out for yet another five-metre line-out, a profitable investment for the boys from Port Elizabeth. Dale withstood their maul but Grey bludgeoned their line till lock Philip Weyer-Henderson stretched out and scored. 25-15 after 49 minutes.
After Fassi had again attacked, Grey went through their routine of penalty, five-metre line-out and try - for the second time scored by Jonker. This time fullback Sihle Njezula converted, his hardest kick of the afternoon and his only successful one. 25-22 with 14 minutes to play.
The tension was mounting and kept on mounting in those 14 minutes.
Grey missed a penalty from in front of the posts.
Dale counterattacked. From a line-out Grey attacked and Aya Matroos seemed certain to score till Matsinya floored him.
But Grey were attacking with great intent and after phases Njezula scored in the right corner. 27-25. For the first time in the match, Grey led and there were just under two minutes to play.
Fassi kicked off and Andrico Johannes won the ball back for Dale.
Dale put the ball into a scrum five metres inside the Grey half.
Johannes raced away on an overlap and Dale were driving at the Grey line.
The defence held.
Grey were penalised in front of their posts.
Fassi scored with a soaring kick and the final whistle went. Dale had won 28-27 in the 99-year-old fixture.
Tries:Apelele Fassi 2, Makabongwe Dlepu
Cons: Apelele Fassi 2
Pens: Apelele Fassi 3
Tries: Ruan Jonker 2, Waqar Solaan, Philip Weyer-Henderson, Sihle Njezula
Con: Sihle Njezula
Dale: 15 Makabongwe Dlepu, 14 Andrico Johannes, 13 Siphamandla Matsinya, 12 Siphamandla Krewqe, 11 Dashan Mitchley, 10 Apelele Fassi (captain), 9 Thando Zoki, 8 Thandile Mpangeva, 7 Lathi-Thaa Lukasi, 6 Buhle Qaba, 5 Luyolo Ndabambi, 4 Thando Gqroko, 3 Mzingisi Bisholo, 2 Mikhaya Sonqishe, 1 Anda Mfanyana
Coaches: Grant Griffith, Barry Hayidakis
Grey: 15 Sihle Njezula, 14 Kholiwe Konza, 13 Aya Matroos, 12 Waqar Solaan, 11 Uan Tait, 10 Runaldo Pedro, 9 Praveen Bosch, 8 Bevan Prinsloo (captain), 7 Dean van Dyk, 6 Travis de Bruin, 5 Philip Weyer-Henderson, 3 Warren Griffin, 2 Ruan Jonker, 1 James Scott
Coaches: Alan Miles, Byron Schmidt