Mouthwatering!!! That is what could be said for this crucial fixture. Following the superb achievement of False Bay a week earlier, in winning the Super League A, the eyes of Southern Suburbs rugby was back on Villager as they contested for what was one of the biggest games for the club since 2014. The scene could not have been set better with the 1st team players enjoying a special “surprise” jersey handout from their respective family members/friends on the Thursday evening in the club. The evening was a huge success and went a long way in strengthening the core fabric and bonds within the club.
Along came Saturday. The biggest crowd of the season to date was entertained in the curtain raiser with a fun game of mini rugby. Once again what a great initiative started by the re-invigorated club administration.
Coming into the game Milnerton had only lost 1 game this season in comparison to Villagers’ 2 games. 2 on the log (Milnerton) vs 4 (Villager). Huge clash. The boys form Milnerton boasted an enormous pack and from kick off put pressure on the Villager tights. The pressure eventually told as Milnerton executed a relatively soft try through a simple hand’s down the line with the winger finishing off in the corner. Not the first time in the season Village let through the first try early on. The try was converted expertly from the corner into the wind. 7 nil.
Without doubt this was by a long way the most physical game of the season to date with some enormous hits being put in from both sides. Villager started to gain a bit of the upper hand in the loose as they recycled ball quickly with Milnerton’s pack struggling to keep up with the pace. This passage of play was a good one for Villager as they converted a penalty and scored an excellent try as Jannie Betser (wing) rounded his man and drew to Nic Wood (hooker) who scored. 8-7 Villager.
This game could be likened to a test match as the intensity continued. This was optimised by winger Donald Crawford who found himself in defence in a one-on-one with the sizable Milnerton winger. Donald put in a text book tackle as he drove his opposite number back a few metres and unceremoniously put him down “gently”. The passion from both sides was immense.
The final 15 minutes of the 1st half was all Milnerton as they slotted a penalty and were awarded a penalty try following the huge pressure on the Village scrum. In the end well deserved as Villager were undoubtedly out-muscled in this department. To add salt to the wound Villager prop Nik Vetsos was sent to the bin for 10 minutes for repeated penalties. 8-17 Milnerton.
Then just before half time Villager were on the attack again but struggling to breach the Milnerton defence. Flyhalf Shane Swart then miss-timed a drop goal attempt which Milnerton pounced on and counter attacked full field to score an outstanding try in the corner. The last move before half time and quite possibly the turning point. Once again the Milnerton kicker impressed with a conversion from the corner. 8-24 Milnerton and halftime.