The Midlands Derby
The Midlands DerbySHARE
On Saturday, Hilton meet Michaelhouse at Hilton in one of the greatest derbies in schoolboy rugby in South Africa.
Don't be fooled by the relaxed elegance of the people around the most beautiful campus in the world, as they descend from opulent cars to lay out luxurious picnic food. There is tension, lots of tension, for the rivalry between the two schools is enormous.
They are, after all the same kind of school with the same kind of boys who have the same kind of parents and are taught by the same kind of schoolmaster. Both are 19th century foundations, both are on sumptuous rural estates, both have elegant buildings, both are private schools and both would be considered posh. There is nothing like similarity and proximity to produce intense rivalry. In fact the closer, the greater the rivalry. Wagering is not unknown.
They first played in 1904 when the Michaelhouse boys descended by steam train and then rode on oxwagons to get to Hilton, a far cry from the automotive elegance of today. Hilton won that match 11-0.
For many years Hiltonians would ask loaded questions about Michaelhouse's Springboks but since Pat Lambie and Patric Cilliers have become internationals and several other OMs have risen to prominence in South Africa and overseas, the jibes have lost their barb.
The two schools have had a fractured start to the season – a bit of rugby, a bit of holiday and then a return to rugby in last Saturday's torrent of rain.
Hilton have played far more matches than Michaelhouse – six to two, The only common result the two have is a match against Northwood. Both won – Hilton 24-14 and Michaelhouse 34-11.
Hilton also beat Helpmekaar (23-10) and Voortrekker Pietermaritzburg (81-0) but lost to St Alban's of Pretoria (26-25), Bishops (29-13) and Westville (20-10). Michaelhouse's only other match was a hammering at home by Glenwood – 36-5 in the rain which is regarded as a leveller.
Recent history is nothing to go by. The two teams meet twice a year – the first time in the third week of the second term and the second time in the last match of the season. In 2010 Michaelhouse won 23-22 and the second match was stopped by a thunderstorm with Hilton leading 7-0. In 2011 Hilton won 18-14 and Michaelhouse the return 30-20. Last year Michaelhouse won the first match 12-11 and Hilton the second 26-22. It's anybody's game.
There is nothing like a derby of this nature to bring out the best in both schools – traditionally the men of Hilton and the gentlemen of Michaelhouse.
Hilton: 15 Mark Gunn, 14 Matthew Dickerson, 13 Tristan Blewett, 12 Alistair Rayner, 11 Jaeger Richmond, 10 Simon Purdon, 9 Cameron Wright (captain), 8 Nqobi Maseko, 7 Brad Dickerson, 6 Rob Baldwin, 5 Christian Wiessing (vice-captain), 4 Jason Gouws, 3 Patrick Lee, 2 Dale Russell, 1 Andy Lee
Michaelhouse: 15 N Glassock, 14 B Forrester-Smith, 13 B Arnott, 12 R Lee, 11 T Faber, 10 M Bouwer, 9 T Walker, 8 C Bird, 7 D Kramer, 6 C Grendon (captain), 5 A Vogel, 4 C Schoeman, 3 C Whiting, 2 J Epsom, 1 C Holenste
Date: Saturday, 27 April 2013
Venue: Gilfillan Field at Hilton
Expected weather conditions: Clear with a high of 27°C, dropping to 13°C.
Referee: Andrew Nicholson (Midlands Rugby Referees)
Results this Century
2001: Michaelhouse won 15-7 and 19-15
2002: Hilton won 30-12 and Michaelhouse won 12-10
2003: Hilton won 23-15 and 29-17
2004: Michaelhouse won 10-9 and 20-8
2005: Hilton won 12-5 and 30-6
2006: Hilton won 19-16 and 23-19
2007: Michaelhouse won 40-0 and 44-17
2008: Michaelhouse won 21-18 and 31-16
2009: Michaelhouse won 13-8 and 40-20
2010: Michaelhouse won 23-22 and Hilton was leading 7-0 when the match was stopped.
2011: Hilton won 18-14 and Michaelhouse won 30-29
2012: Michaelhouse won 12-11 and Hilton won 26-22