Villager FC, after a dream start to their return season in the SLA, were reminded of the leagues difficulty when they succumbed to a resolute and determined Tygerberg RFC side at Brookside on Saturday. Final score was 25 – 19 in favour of he “Tiere” after they led 14 – 7 at half time.
As the morning rain subsided and the sun came out for beautiful autumn Cape Town day the scene was set for a cracker of an afternoon. There is nothing better than arriving at the hallowed Brookside grounds for a home game – the freshly cut and marked fields, the sponsors flags and banners littered over the field, the anticipation and excitement in the pub, the gentle trickling in of spectators from both teams and 150 plus rugby players giving it their all for their respective clubs. Nothing beats club rugby.
Villager came into this game with 10 out of 10 points and Tygerberg a shakyish start to the season following a thumping from UCT the week before. This was always to be anyone’s game as there is not much between the teams in the SLA. You could feel the edge as the afternoon went on. 4pm came and the game got underway at a frantic pace with referee, Matt Kemp, only having to use his whistle after about 3 minutes of end to end phase play, turnover after turnover.
Tygerberg’s tactics became clear as they continued to kick onto the Village back three. This allowed fullback, James Allderman – eventual man-of-the-match, to counter and set up good field position for the home side. With Villager starting to find their feet and get the upper hand, a lapse in concentration after successive phase play in the middle of the field gifted the Tygerberg wing an easy intercept which was duly accepted and dotted down under the poles. An unfortunate error against the run of play allowed Tygerberg to take the lead by 7.
The game carried on under similar circumstances until once again the Tygerberg kicking tactic came to fruition as a fortuitous bounce landed perfectly for the Tygerberg wing, following a brilliant kick chase, to dot down under the sticks to further the visitors lead to 14 after 20 minutes.
As the half wore on the large but clearly tiring Tygerberg pack started to leave holes in the defence. This relentless pressure from Village finally allowed scrumhalf Coombsey (David Coombes) to canter over for an easy 7 points to close the gap shortly before the half time whistle sounded.
The 2nd half got underway with Village continuing from where they left off in the 1st half culminating in a moment of brilliance as Jannie Bester dived over in the pub corner. Daniel Clarke narrowly missed the conversion, but crucially Villager were back in the game trailing by 2.
Straight from the kick-off, the Brooksiders, in what would eventually become the major theme of their eventual demise, gave away a silly penalty at the breakdown which the Tiere gladly accepted to slot a penalty furthering their lead to 17-12.
For the next 15 minutes the game was a ding-dong battle with Tygerberg having the slight ascendancy in the scrums and Village struggling on their own ball in the lineouts. The loose play was a tightly contested affair with Tygerberg using very effective slowing tactics at the rucks. However with 12 minutes to go the relentless Villager phase play reaped its rewards as live wire Hooker Scotty Pitcher muscled over for a nicely worked try. Daniel Clarke converted to claim a 2 point lead for the home side for the first time in the game.
Controversially the visitors scored an unconverted try almost straight away from the kick-off through their bustling prop, Christo van Wyk, after it appeared from the side that Villager lock, Renier Scholtzs’ lifter was taken out from beneath him from the kick-off. The referee thought otherwise however and the Tiere scooped on the opportunity to lead 25 – 19 with around 15 to play.
For the last 10 minutes of the game it was all Village as they piled continuous pressure on Tiere’s line with their bench clearly adding the spark required to force the win from the visitors. As the drama played out and the Village boys cheering on from the players corner, which is now starting to become legendary, centre Stu Pattison collected the ball from the back of a ruck and dived over the ruck to score in a convertible position. The crowd went mad but referee Kemp saw differently as he awarded a penalty to Tiere adjudging that Pattison was bound to the ruck.
With frustration starting to show on the Village faces as the resolute Tygerberg defence held firm, hooker Scotty Pitcher had a moment of madness as he rucked one of the oppositions ankle. With the red card being correctly shown, Village were down to 14 with 3 minutes to play. However Village didn’t give up and fought to the bitter end with Tygerberg showing unbelievable guts and determination in defending their line as they ended deserved victors.
Head Coach Gunner Hughes believed the game could have gone either way. “I thought we had our chances to win this game and did create the chances to score, we just didn’t seem to get the rub of the green this afternoon. I thought Stu Pattison scored a legitimate try, however we have to accept the referees interpretations.”
“However with that said, I thought Tygerberg were superb on defence and with their half backs controlling the game so well they put us under pressure and we did not do enough to deal with that. They were deserved winners and it was great to see how much this win meant to their players and supporters.” Hughes continued.
Villager FC would like to congratulate the Tiere on their win and thanks their numerous supporters for creating such a festive atmosphere at Brookside.
Villager will look to this weekends massive clash against high flying rivals Hamiltons away on Saturday (Game may be moved to Friday night – TBC).
**Logs not available at time of publish