The 139th Derby Day against Hamiltons RFC brought with it more than merely a great day’s festivities, it brought Villager FC back down to earth with a bump. For although the “Dirty Whites” have had a tremendous run in this year’s SLB, Hamiltons proved why they top the SLA log when they beat a plucky Villager side 52 – 5 at Brookside on Saturday 28 June.
Going into the game one would be forgiven believing that the clash would live up to its historical legacy as both teams remained unbeaten in their respective leagues, Villager in the SLB and Hamiltons in the SLA. However the chasm between the two leagues was none more so pronounced than on Saturday as “Hammies” proved their unbeaten run in this year’s SLA is no accident. Their strong and efficient pack and powerful backline left one in no doubt that Villager have their work cut out for them should they return to the top flight next year.
Be that as it may, Villager did give a good account of their potential in the opening quarter as they threw everything they had at the visitors. The home teams insatiable desire to prove to themselves and the rest of the club that not only could they go toe to toe with Hamiltons, but beat them, proved telling in the final analysis.
It is well known amongst sport psychologists that in order to achieve the optimal state of mind to attain maximum performance when it counts, a team’s arousal levels and their emotions need to be balanced. Too much of either can have the same detrimental effect as too little on the performance of an individual or a team. When a side is too caught up in the emotions of a big game, clear thought is replaced by irrational actions, which in hindsight, were avoidable.
In comparing both teams on Saturday the home side were clearly revved up so much so that they conceded more penalties than their norm, as well as two yellow cards, which without a doubt crippled the “Dirty Whites” hopes of turning around an eight year Derby Day losing streak. Hamiltons on the other hand, although conceding a yellow card for dangerous play, never seemed flustered as they went about their task with business like precision ensuring the result was never in doubt. The stark contrast between the two may lie in the inexperience of the home team, with the majority under 25 and having never played at SLA 1st XV level before, a certain amount of growing pains can be expected.
Inexperience aside, the Villager passion and fire from start to finish was admirable but credit must be given to the Hamiltons half backs Dylan Tidbury and Monty Dumond who systematically broke the Brooksiders spirits by speeding the game up by opting for quick taps and using the whole width of the field which had the desired effect of nullifying the Villager pack. The wider game ensured the Hammies bigger and faster outside backs caused mayhem for the home team’s defence as they broke numerous tackles and used clever grubber kicks which ensured they were nearly always on the front foot.
Although the passionate display by the home side prevented a score for the most part of the first quarter, the Hammies pressure eventually told when flyhalf Daniel Clarke was shown a yellow card as a result of repeated breakdown infringements on their own five meter line. Rather than take the easy points Captain JG Giliomee opted for the scrum, a decision which was rewarded when flanker Nieuwoudt Gresse went over in the corner after superb hands from Dumond. Hammies were on the scoreboard soon afterwards when Jandre du Plessis dotted down after the Villager defence was sucked in at the breakdown. They should have been on the scoreboard again after their powerfully built winger, Janno van Zyl broke through the Villager defence on his 10 meter line, only for fullback Piere Cronje to knock on with the line at his mercy. However they were rewarded shortly before half time when Dumond quick tapped on the Villager five meter line which saw him crash over two phases later.
The home side did not help their cause by trying to play a risky style of play which included too many grubbers and chip kicks, a tactic that, instead of causing the visitors difficulties on defence, only succeeded in giving away the valuable possession they did receive. While their penchant for contesting at the breakdown seemed to only incur the wrath of the referee which handed the advantage firmly in the visiting sides hands.
However they did look good with ball in hand when they played closer to the pack by bringing in strong ball carrying inside centre, David Radloff. Unfortunately lost lineouts and poor option taking ensured the home team never really threatened to cross the whitewash, Clarkes attempted drop goal and penalty kick which both went astray, where the closest the home side came to getting points on the board in the first half. Thus the half ended with Hamiltons firmly in the lead by 19 points to zero.
Hamiltons started the second half where they left off, scoring their fourth after Clarke crucially missed a penalty touch kick that resulted in a counter attacking surge and a try for Calvin Kotze under the posts. Although a highly contentious score, as it looked for all money that Brodie Blows had been obstructed, the call stood. Unfortunately for the home team, Captain Ashley Clarke’s emotional remonstration with the referee afterwards only succeeded in earning him a yellow card.
If it was going to be difficult to stop Hammies with 15 players, it would be near impossible to do so with 14 men on the park for a quarter of the game. Losing the Clarke brothers to the sin bin proved to be detrimental to the home team’s efforts as both have had a big influence on the team’s performances to date. Thus the floodgates opened for Hammies as they ran in a further four tries, one apiece for Dumond and Gresse to complete their brace, and one to each of their wingers, Craig Pheiffer and Janno van Zyl.
The home side did eventually get on the score board late in the second half when replacement flyhalf, Tim Marsh, switched play to the blind side and passed to hooker Scott Pitcher who dotted down in the corner. However it was a little too late for the Dirty Whites, but to their credit they did not succumb meekly proving that although their performance may have been slightly misdirected at times, they were worthy opponents on the day. Had the full contingent of the team stayed on the field and some 50/50 referee calls gone their way the score line may have been less, however Hamiltons were full value for the win.
To the most objective of Villager supporters the performance of Hamiltons flyhalf, Monty Dumond, who scored two tries and had a hand in at least three others, was the biggest difference between the two sides on the day. While the Hamiltons pack were highly efficient, especially in the set phases, the visitors backline proved to be the deciding factor in their dominant display. Their speed, skill and pace proved too much for the home sides defence to handle as they ran in six of their teams eight tries.
Villager FC thoroughly enjoyed hosting our old friends and rivals from Green Point and we look forward to visiting them next year in the 140th instalment of Derby Day and wish them the best of luck in their remaining fixtures.
Villager now has a five week break with their next game being against Hands and Hearts at Brookside on 2 August.
Try: Scott Pitcher
Try: Nieuwoudt Gresse (2), Monty Dumond (2), Craig Pheiffer, Calvin Kotze, Janno van Zyl
Conv: Craig Pheiffer (5), Morgan Newman (1)
Villager FC Team:
1. A. Cleophas 2. S. Pitcher 3. R. Germishuys 4. R. Williams 5. R. Bezuidenhout 6. J. Bester 7. B. Blows 8. A. Clarke (cpt) 9. D. Anderson 10. D. Clark, 11. C. Terblanche 12. D. Radloff 13. S. Pattison 14. J. Valentine 15. J. Allderman
16. Z. Fredericks 17. A. Coetzee s 18. A. Wilkins 19. LT Stamper 20. T. Marsh 21. J. Sweetnam 22. B. Hansen
Hamiltons RFC Team:
15 Pierre Cronje, 14 Craig Pheiffer, 13 Jandre du Plessis, 12 Calvin Kotze, 11 Janno van Zyl, 10 Monty Dumond, 9 Dylan Tidbury, 8 Jody Burch, 7 Nieuwoudt Gresse, 6 Gareth Rowe, 5 Tian Fick, 4 Henk Franken, 3 Attie Winter, 2 JG Giliomee, 1 Christo McNish
16 Greg van Jaarsveld, 17 Justin ackerman, 18 Denzel Riddles, 19 Sphephelo Buthelizi, 20 Justice Kote, 21 Morgan Newman, 22 Iewan Bartels
|Villager FC 1st XV||Hamiltons RFC 1st XV||LOST||5 – 52|
|Villager FC 2nd XV||Hamiltons RFC 2nd XV||LOST||7 – 46|
|Villager FC 3rd XV||Hamiltons RFC 3rd XV||LOST||12 – 41|
|Villager FC u20||Hamiltons RFC u20||LOST||10 – 57|
|Villager FC ‘Old Crocks’||Hamiltons RFC ‘Dynamiters’||LOST||0 – 20|