The fairy-tale season that Villager has enjoyed this year came to an unglamorous end after a well prepared and incredibly efficient Union-Milnerton claimed a 25 – 15 win in the final of the inaugural Presidents Cup at Newlands on Saturday 04 October. The Half time score was 10 all.
In going into the game it was said that the final was Villagers to lose, however Union Milnerton proved that assumption folly with a ruthlessly efficient game plan that had Villager on the back foot from the first whistle until the last. Their effectiveness at the breakdown both on attack and defence was sublime, whilst their tactical game, spearheaded by veteran flyhalf Ignatius Prinsloo, outclassed a young Villager side that seemed to believe that one off moments of brilliance would win them the game.
From the get go the bigger Union-Milnerton forwards seemed to have the upper hand in the collisions, however their plan of disrupting Villagers ball at the breakdown saw them on the wrong side of referee Joey Salmons on numerous occasions. It was a breakdown penalty that handed Villager the opening points through winger Neil du Toit who coolly converted the 45 meter kick. Not long afterwards Uni-Mil struck back with a penalty of their own through Prinsloo.
Combined with the tactical kicking of Prinsloo as well as their own errors and breakdown inefficiency, Villager struggled to get out of their own half for most of the opening quarter. As a result of the pressure and the Villager desire to attack with scant regard to retaining possession, Uni-Mil were first to cross the white wash through winger Jaco van Wyk. Although the try may have been fortuitous after what looked for all money as a turnover for Villager, Uni-Mil did exploit the chance extremely well and scored a deserved and well worked try. With the conversion good by Prinsloo from the corner, Uni-Mil took a 7 – 3 lead.
With Uni-Mil hell-bent on disrupting the Villager breakdown, a yellow card for their eighthman, Michael Blackshaw, was not entirely unexpected after Salmons eventually lost patience. Although a man down, it was significant to note that Villager failed to score during this period as their lineout and unforced errors eroded much of the good work they had done in getting back into the oppositions half. It was only until flanker, Abraheem Davids, was yellow carded shortly before half time for ill-discipline that Villager were able to score through Captain Ashley Clarke after a trademark pick up from the back of a five meter scrum. With the conversion good by Du Toit from the corner both teams went into the half at ten points apiece.
If Villager were to recoup after a mostly forgettable first half they would have had to strike first, however right from the kick off Uni-Mil scored a scintillating try that saw multiple players handle the ball to eventually free up winger van Wyk to claim his second. Although Prinsloo uncharacteristically missed the conversion, Uni-Mil was clearly on top.
With momentum on their side, and a slight change in tactics to take on the Villager defence, Uni-Mil quickly scored their third try through Prinsloo after Villager poorly executed an exit strategy in their 22 meter. With Prinsloo making no mistake with the conversion, Uni-Mil held a commanding 12 point lead.
Although Villager tried hard to recoup, their tactless decisions, poor lineout and scrappy style of play only succeeded in conceding more territory and eventually another penalty for Prinsloo to convert. With a 15 point deficit and only a quarter of the game to go, Villager was in desperate trouble and would need to score three times to reclaim the lead.
As is often the case when it rains it pours, and for Villager this was the case after Ashley Clarke was somewhat harshly yellow carded for what referee Salmons deemed illegal play at the tackle. Be that as it may with two Uni-Mil players sent to the bin in the first half, Villager should not have been in the situation they found themselves in with only 15 minutes to go.
With nothing to lose Villager enjoyed a period of sustained pressure in the opposition half, however with all attacking endeavours proving unsuccessful the writing was clearly on the wall for the Brooksiders. Although Villager did score a fantastic try through replacement winger Donny Venter, it was too little too late and with the final whistle sounding shortly thereafter, Uni-Mil were confirmed as the inaugural SLB Presidents Cup Champions.
After such a fantastic season whereby the “Dirty Whites” achieved everything they set out to do this year, the loss of the Presidents Cup, although disappointing, must be seen in perspective says stand in Head Coach Kirsten Marshall. “Having already been promoted we viewed the Presidents Cup as a bonus, however we definitely went onto the field to win it and claim the double, but clearly Milnerton were that much more determined to win it.” He says. “I thought Uni-Mil played extremely well today and outplayed us in all departments. They were deserved winners and we congratulate Ish and the other coaches for finishing their season off on a high. We wish them all the best for next year and hope to see them in the SLA in 2016.”
Villager FC would like to thank all our supporters and players who joined us at Newlands to cheer on the team wearing their number 1’s. It was great sight to see the Villager ties out in force in the stands! We would also like to thank the Western province Rugby Union for putting on such a great show and inviting the clubs to play on the hallowed Newlands turf. It is a tradition we hope will continue for a long time.
Villager have no more official games left however two invitational teams will be in action during the Rockets Super 7s tournament to be held at Brookside at the end of this month. See http://www.super7srugby.co.za/.
Tries: Ashley Clarke (1), Donny Venter (1)
Conv: Neil du Toit (1)
Pen: Neil du Toit (1)
Union Milnerton Scorers:
Tries: Jaco van Wyk (2), Ignatius Prinsloo (1)
Conv: Ignatius Prinsloo (2)
Pen: Ignatius Prinsloo (2)
Villager FC 1st XV
1. Adrian Cleophas 2. Scott Pitcher 3. Ryan Germishuys 4. Luke Westgarth Taylor 5. Richard Williams 6. Jannie Bester 7. Brodie Blows 8. Ashley Clarke (CPT) 9. Daniel Anderson 10. 11. Neil Du Toit 12. Matthew Rockhill 13. Brent Sanders 14. Christo Terblanche 15. James Alderman