So close, but yet again no cigar for the 2nd XV vs St. Georges on Saturday, but then again it should never have been this close in the first place.
Villager FC fielded probably the best 2nd XV side of 2016 so far, loaded with 1st XV players as the club wanted to put down a decisive marker in all games vs St. Georges before the mid-season break. The games started like all the other this season with the V2 team placing themselves under pressure from the start with handling errors and lost possession being forced to defend for most of the 1st 20 minutes. There were good moments when the forwards consolidated and set up good driving mauls but could not convert as the ball was either lost through ill-discipline or poor handling at crucial times. The St. Georges team, that was clearly no match for this Village outfit, started to build confidence and opened the scoreboard with some slick hands in the back line to score in the corner. The wind was picking up and a great conversion saw the score line move to 0 – 7 in the 20th minute. The Vikings tried hard to hit back as soon as possible with some good running by no. 7 Jannie Bester and no.4 Luke Wesgarth-Taylor, however once again the momentum was lost through handling errors. The frustration was showing as although the V2 team were dominating the territory as well as all facets this could not be converted into points. A terrible mess of a line out close to the opposition try line resulted in a break away run by St. Georges, even worse defence saw them run through for their 2nd try and a 0 – 12 lead. This seemed to ignite some fire in the Vikings as right from the kick off no.15 Stu Pattison ran straight through the opposition line to set up the resulting move down the line for no.13 Jamie Croeser to score. 5 – 12. This was followed immediately with a great run from no.7 Jannie Bester down the line, getting the inside pass away to no.14 Rowaahl Jaftha to score. 10 – 12 and Village was back in the game. The 1st half was winding down and it was unfortunate that right on the whistle a lack of discipline once again resulted in a penalty, which St. Georges converted for a 10 – 15 halftime lead.
The 2nd half started well for the Vikings with some good play by the forwards and backs, however as the opposition got frustrated, discipline was starting to fall rapidly. Penalty after penalty in both directions slowed the momentum of the game considerably and St. Georges once again aimed for goal from one of these infringements. The penalty was converted and the score moved to 10 – 18, but it was heart-breaking to find out that this kick was not even close afterwards. However the Viking were not out of the game and with minimal personnel change, all they had to do was hold on as the opposition was starting to play more and more off the ball. With 20 minutes to go and the Vikings on the attack a massive brawl started on the field involving almost the whole of both teams as well as some spectators from St. Georges as well as the linesman. This was a sorry site and a cruel reminder of how rugby matches are played and won in those parts of the world. With the referee and officials rattled from the incident, Village had to dig deep not to be on the receiving end of the whistle. Time was running out and after a good build no.5 Stefan Nienaber was over close to the uprights to set up a final surge for the win. 17 – 18 with 3 minutes to play. The Viking threw everything at the opposition as the clock was winding down and with time basically finished there was a good push right on the try line and I for one thought that it was the game, however the referee ruled a penalty against Village and the game was over. So close 17 – 18 Final Score.