Annual Derby Day
139 years of rivalry and friendship
“Friendships born on the field of athletic strife are the real gold of competition. Awards become corroded, friends gather no dust” – Jessie Owens
Following on from the first part of the history of Derby Day, we present part two of the intriguing story behind our two clubs rivalry.
1976 to 1985
The decade of 1976 to 1985 saw a period in derby day history that was largely dominated by Villager with 8 wins for Village and 2 for Hamiltons with the biggest win coming Villagers’ way with a 60-6 victory in the 1976 edition. The report from the game read:
“With ‘HO’ de Villiers off sick, Mome du Plessis captained the side that, on paper, was expected to out class their opponents. The Hammies pack offered tenacious resistance, before the Brooksiders gradually gained the upper hand, scoring a try in each half. Kobus Immelman drove over in the corner for their first-half try,while winger Ian Abernathy, scored under the posts in the second-half, after the try was set up from a dummy by fly- half Chris Burger, who converted both tries and scored two penalty goals.”
This period in derby history was a stellar one with Morne Du Plessis, the Villager captain at the time, being elected as the Springbok captain in ‘76. As scribed in the Villager annals and quoted by club secretary, Chris Shutte, at the time:
“It was with a sense of tremendous pride that the Club was to learn of the election of Morne Du Plessis as both Springbok and Western Province captain for the series, the first “Villager” Springbok Captain since 1931, when the great flyhalf Bennie Osler achieved the distinction.” Morne captained the Boks with distinction for the next 3 years.
In 1977 in what must have been one of the best comeback’s in derby history, following their demolition in 1976, Hammies came out firing and almost shocked the favourites Villager. In the end Villager won 12-9.
“The newspaper reports that Villager, coached by Morne du Plessis, were well matched at forward by a fiery Hamilton pack that was one of the best seen in years. They were well lead by their outstanding captain, Gideon Hitchcock. Kobus Immelman did well for Villager in the line-outs, but with Derek Kohler having a difficult game at fly-half, the Brookside back-line made many costly errors, with poor handling and forward passes at crucial moments that would bring promising movements to a fruitless end.
The second half was marred by heated exchanges and referee, Alan Hirschberg, had his hands full. A penalty goal in the last seconds of the match enabled Villager to snatch a thrilling victory. No record was kept of the scorers on either side.”
On a rather sad note the decade also witnessed the retirement of the great HO de Villiers in 1978. HO livened up many a derby with his open style of rugby which for time was almost unheard of. As quoted from the annual report from that year:
“The courage which he (HO) has displayed thoughout his career enabled him to continue playing when other would have long since hung up their boots. His deep love of the game drove him to limits which most people are not aware of but in due course of which he brought great credit and honour to his team and the Club.” HO kept giving back by becoming the 1st team coach the following year.
The next few years were dominated once again by Villager with the tables finally turning in 1982 when Hammies snuck a 10-9 win. As scribed on the day:
“Hamilton deserved their one point win over Villager, the first for many years, not only because they played the better rugby but, territorially, they were far more superior. But this was a victory that was marred by brawling which came in the dying minutes, with players from both sides piling in to each other way outside the field of play. The open brawling lasted a full minute with Villager lock, Hein Klugman being sent off to the ‘cooler’. He was, however, unlucky to be singledout, for there were a few more who should never have finished the game, but should rather have been banned to the showers.
To their credit, Hammies observed the basics throughout and their pack out played the visitors. The Brooksiders were unable to shake off the Hammies stranglehold and allowed themselves to become rattled when defeat loomed up.
Nevertheless, the best from Villager came in the last six minutes when their try by winger Jeremy Pinn , which was converted by Hannes Pretorius, had a touch of class. Had Bob Bolus succeeded with an attempted drop, the Brooksiders would have snatched victory on time. For Hamiltons, their locks,’ Tiny ‘Carroll and Bobby Knott were outstanding and, unlike the Villager backs, who for the most part moved at a pedestrian pace, Hammies backs showed far more initiative throughout, which was rewarded by an excellent try in the first-half by centre, Rod Smith, followed by the first of two penalties by fly-half, Mike Lawson. Hannes Pretorius succeeded with a penalty for the visitors in the first half to make the score 7- 3 at half-time.”
1986 to 1995:
1986-1995 was once again dominated by Villager with stats showing 7 wins for Villager, 2 draws and 1 win for Hamiltons. The decade kicked off with an inspiring Hamiltons win. Final score 24-13. It read:
“Thanks to the power of the Hammies pack and the deadly accurate goal kicking of full-back Bryan Martin, who scored five penalties and a dropped goal, Hamiltons turned a half-time deficit of 6 – 10 into a well deserved victory. It rained for most of the game making conditions very difficult and the greasy ball did not make for clean handling. Playing with the wind in the first half, the Brooksiders were leading at the
break, thanks to an unconverted try by winger, John Rosslee in the 15th minute, after a rare good line movement that started from a tap penalty. Later in the half, full-back Beau Schoeman goaled a penalty, but this was not enough. Harnmies won so much of the ball from set scrums and rucks that their scrum-half, Charles Mclachlan overdid playing to the blind side, though, in the end, it was these tactics that finally paid off. It was only in the last 12 minutes, however, that Hamiltons capitalized on their forward superiority, for at that stage, they were still trailing 13 – 12 before Harnmies center, Frikkie Craus scored a try close to time when the home team exploited the short side from a five metre scrum. The Hammies hooker, Melt van der Spuy gained four tight head heels against one by Peter Heath and with their solid pack, W P selector, James Starke, must have been impressed by their front row. Prop, Ellis Huisamen, particularly , could stake a claim for a provincial place this season. The lineouts were, however, most untidy and referee, Freek Burger dished out numerous penalties.
Hammies fly-half, Rod Smith did not impress on the day and the Brooksider backs, with a more limited share of the ball,always looked more enterprising. Bryan Martin, the Hammies full-back contributed 20 points with his trusty left boot from five penalties, a conversion and an excellent long-range drop that had the wind in his favour. He was also safer when tested than his opposite number, Beau Schoeman, who goaled three penalties. The Hamiltons loose trio, Alan D’Agne!, Freddie Green and Keith Lotz were more assertive than their opponents, although Villager flanker, Attie Strauss, did well.”
1987-89 were all close affairs with 1 draw and a win a piece. In 1990 Villager started to assume the upper hand as they won the next 4 derbies. The most convinicng of which being the 1990 derby:
“This was a one-sided match in favour of Villager who were simply too hot for the home side, who were completely outplayed as the Brooksiders ran in as many as five tries without reply. At half-time, the Claremont side were leading 15 – 6 and 25 minutes into the second-half, Hamiltons lost their captain, Wes Little, playing lock, who was sent off by referee, Freek Burger, for foul play. An interesting feature of the play was the good form of the Hamiltons halves, for both fly-half and, in particular, scrum-half, Freddie Ferreira, look ripe for a provincial call-up. In comparison, Villager fly-half, Anton Chait, was off form with his goal-kicking, missing several attempts, however, his general play was polished. For the forwards, Villager lock, Shaun Thompson, was the outstanding line-out jumper of the day. The five Brooksider tries came with two being scored by right-wing, Leon Hass and one each from scrum-half, Wayne Louw, center, Jerry Steenkamp and flanker, Riaan Cilliers. Anton Chait was successful with kicking two penalties and two conversions.
Hammies points came from two penalty kicks by fly-half, Chris Smit and a massive 60 metre penalty from flanker,Mark Louw.”
The 1995 match was closely contested with Villager coming away with a tight 12-8 win. This derby would also recognise the senior playing birth of arguably one of the greatest Springboks ever, Percival Montgomery. The match report from the day read:
“Villager were fortunate to shade out Hamilton in this tightly contested match, for two penalties by their right-wing, Percival Montgomery, made the difference between defeat and victory in yesterday’s derby match at Brookside. Altogether, the 19 year old Brooksider kicked four penalties, two in each half, which edged Villager to a narrow victory against their arch-rivals. In contrast, Hamilton fly-half, Coenie du Toit, missed three relatively easy attempts at goal and Hammies handling lapses prevented them from adding to their solitary try. In a match which never reached great heights as a spectacle,too much prominence was placed on the tussle between the two packs and this laboured pattern seldom gave the wings any space. While the Sea Point team held the whip-hand in virtually all the exchanges upfront, their backs constantly squandered their opportunities. They often attempted suicidal long-passes, which was folly in the face of the awkward prevailing wind and the fast-moving Villager backs were immediately on hand to snap up the loose ball to pose a threat.
As to be expected, the battle between the forwards was tense throughout and with tempers on a short fuse, referee Spencer King sent a player from each side to the cooler. The line-outs, which were even, produced an epidemic of badly-directed one handed tapping which put the half-backs under pressure, however, Hammies scrum half, Craig Richardson, outshone his counterpart. A tight defense by both back-lines also confined the three-quarters and with most of the action reduced to scrummaging, it was not surprising that a tight-forward was to score the only try of the match, with Harnmies prop, Jaco Coetzee touching down from a maul. So in all, there were three factors that secured the Villager win; (1) the consistent goal kicking of U-21 player, Percy Montgomery, who seems to have found a niche for himself on the right wing; (2) a resolute Villager defense when their try-line was under heavy siege;and (3) a spate of “wretched” handling lapses by the Hammies backs, which was instrumental in costing them the match; Almost as a consolation, Hammies scored the only try of the match when prop, Jaco Coetzee, barged over the line and fly-half, Coenie du Toit, goaled a penalty. While the Hammies pack had the better of the exchanges up front, the line-outs were pretty much even, but the fast moving Villager backs were definitely superior. Both of the full-backs, Gavin Lawless,of Villager and Neil Penrose, of Hammies, used their experience well.”
1996 to 2005
Villager started the next decade where they left the last one off with some big wins. The biggest of which being their 50-28 victory in 1996:
“Villager maintained their hold on the annual derby against Hamiltons by comfortably outplaying their long-time rivals at Green Point when they ran in eight tries to three. This was a match where, from the outset, Villager comfortably outplayed Hamilton and remained on top inevery phase of play, however, it was their ability to execute moves a good yard quicker than their opponents which accounted for their big win in an entertaining game.
A large proportion of the eight tries scored by the Brooksiders came from the overlap, with Jan Ackerman running in three tries, while Johnny Wearne and Anton Moolman each scored single tries. Loose forward Gavin Pfister scored two excellent tries and Naude Hopper scored another try from the Villager pack and Johnny Wearne was successful with five conversions. Hammies scored three tries from Chris Snyman, Roger Smith and Craig Markow, two of which were converted by Bruce Sharp, who also kicked two penalties, while the remaining points came from a dropped goal by Jean Hugo.
And the ability of an impressive loose trio, headed by veteran No.8 Richard Britton, to range up in support of the carrier ensuring the Hammies defense time and again ran out of tacklers. Fly-half Johnny Wearne was another impressive component for the winners, but the forwards with Steven Hall pivotal inthe line-outs and ever present on the drive, laid the platform for victory.”
In 1998, seemingly out of nowhere Hamiltons came back with a surprise 18-9 win:
“After a boring first-half dotted by penalty pot-shots at goal, the second half degenerated into an even more lethargic affair – not at all the sort of encounter one would otherwise expect from two teams with more than 100 years of rivalry to stir up passions between them when they meet. Hammies, Johan Botha succeeded with all his six attempts at goal and, with the wind against him, Villager’s Brandon Bell missed two of his five attempts and therein lay the only difference between the two teams. With no superstars on either side, neither team managed to overcome the other in any of the phases of play. Indeed the litany of errors made life tough for referee, Andre Cillier and the game soon got bogged down among the forwards, with one set piece, or penalty after another. Hamiltons, though, can congratulate themselves on a rare win over last year’s log-leaders.
To be fair to Villager, their 1st Team was made up of a totally new set of players, in that only one player was available from last season’s league winning team, for they lost as many as nine players on contract to overseas clubs, while another five first team regulars were on Provincial standby. To make things even worse, the Brooksiders were also without their successful coach, Anton Chait, who has been seconded to coach W P’s Vodacom Cup Provincial ‘B’ team.
In spite of this, Villager found themselves in charge for much of the game, but without sufficient fire-power to break down a steady Hamilton’s defence at home. Whether the Brooksiders can take up where they left off last season, remains to be seen, but on this performance, at least, other sides in the league have something to fight for and both teams suffered a barrage of dedicated tackling, but neither managed to fully make use of their respective back-lines on attack. The only try scoring opportunities came in the last quarter when Hamiltons kicked a penalty for a line-out near the try-line, but the forward effort was wasted under a blanket of yet more handling errors.Villager also came close to scoring, unfortunately right at the end of the match, when they camped within metres of Hamilton’s line.
All the points throughout the match were scored from penalties, Hammies scoring five in the first-half from the boot of Johan Botha, matched by a Villager penalty by captain, Brandon Bekker, while in the second-half, Johan Botha added another penalty goal for Hammies and Villager were successful with two more penalties, again from Brandon Bekker.”
From 1999 Villager were back on the winning path again, and in fact never looked back until 2005 where Hammies began their period of dominance over the Brooksiders.
2006 to 2013
The last 8 years have seen Hamiltons unstoppable as they experienced an unbelievable 8 match winning streak. The highlight of which being the 2013 game at the Stephan Oval where they notched up the largest Derby score in history by trouncing Villager 97-0.
In a very one-sided fixture Hamiltons were in a rampant mood as they progressed to teach Villager a rugby lesson. With Villager struggling in all facets of their club and in so doing fielding a very young and inexperienced 1st team, Hamiltons took full advantage and drove the nail in. The pure physicality of the Hamiltons pack was the main contributor in setting the platform for this famous victory. As difficult it must have been to watch as a Villager supporter you had to admire the professional and complete game of a Hamiltons side that went on that year to win the honour of representing Western Province in the Cell C Community Cup.