It was quite easy to billboard this Monday night encounter as South Africa’s 2nd oldest club taking on the oldest rugby club in the world. A truly historic occasion, however also a nervous venture for VFC as Barry mentioned, we are not even half way through the season and struggling with major injury concerns as we are ultimately fighting for promotion. However this match turned out to be a feast. A good clean but hard encounter with some of the best rugby played at Brookside in 2016, all for the right reasons and upholding centuries of traditions.
Richmond, an English club and recent National 1 Champions started the game in typical English fashion, keeping the ball up front trying to drive their way toward the try line, however the Village defence held strong and for the first 10 minutes it was all out action, with some storming runs by the opposition, a couple of big hits on both sides as well as a couple of quickly taken penalties, but nothing converted into points. Villager squandered a great opportunity to open the score line when a line out within range did not find the jumpers. Further advancements were made a couple of minutes later when some good inter play by the forwards got the ball over the try line, however it was dropped and the score remained 0 – 0. For the rest of the first half, it was all Richmond as they set up drive after drive and some valiant defence from Villagers saw the ball being held up over the line on a couple of occasions, however the dam wall had to break. First it was no.8 from a quick tap-and-go penalty. 0 – 7. Then Richmond’s no.8 again picked up the ball from the scrum and scored. 0 – 14. A great midfield break by the Richmond centre closed the half with the score line at 0 – 21 as the no.15 converted all 3 tries.
The 2nd half was something to savour as Villagers came out firing right from the whistle. Increasing the tempo and running at Richmond with everything they got. It was great to see the way the players played a style of rugby that is seldom seen these days, trusting their instincts to take risks. After a great individual break by no.11 Rafique September the first Villager try was set up. 5 – 21.This was followed by another solo effort from Rafique to score in the corner. 10 – 21. Richmond quickly regrouped and took some time to build up to the try line and after many reset scrums they pushed their way over their 4th try. 10 – 26. Village was once again on the back foot as Richmond drove forward straight from the kick off and after the hard work was done upfront their 5th try was scored in the corner by the backline. 10 – 31. Villagers got another one back after a great run by no.6 Scotty Pitcher. 15 – 31. As time was running out the pace of this game never got any slower. Richmond used their strong and heavy pack to secure good territory and unleashed their backs to run at the Village defence. Once again this proved to work like a charm as a 6th Richmond try was recorded. 15 – 36. The shark cage diving of the day before must have affected the kickers as they started great but in the end could not convert more than the first 3 attempts. This was however the start of the real fireworks for Villagers as last 5 minutes saw some brilliant running and individual skills by the Villager players. First some slick hands by the backline saw replacement loose forward Jannie Bester score in the corner in front of the club house. 20 – 36. Then a great chip & chase by Justin Heim saw u/20 player Illias score under the posts after the off load. Final score 27 – 36.
A great game of rugby and just what Villagers needed ahead of Saturday’s vital clash with Helderberg.