After a string of disappointing and morale sapping defeats, Villager FC returned to winning ways in triumphant style after beating Belhar RFC 12 – 10 in a must-win fixture for the Brooksiders on Friday 14 August. The halftime score was 12 – 3 in favour of Villager.
It was make or break time for Villager last Friday night on a cold yet clear Cape Town’s winters evening. The scene was set for an important relegation clash with a loss for Village all but certainly putting the men in white in a tricky playoff game to decide their fate as to whether they participate in the Super League A or B season in 2016.
With everything to play for, nothing could be left on the park, and nothing was left on the park.Pure pride won the day for the men in white!
Following an emotional send off by legendary President Bossie Clarke the atmosphere in the camp was focussed and determined before the game. Since the start of the second half of the season Village have been letting themselves down with poor performances over the first 15-20 minutes of each game. In most cases this lack of focus at the start often cost them the final result.
On this particular evening however the men in white came out firing on all cylinders. Belhar must have wondered where Village had been all year as they played incredible rugger completely dominating their more fancied opponents. As Xolani Mofu, the Belhar flanker and ex-Villager stalwart, commented after the game ”Yoh you guys came out with a BANG!”.
With Village controlling the game in all facets and most importantly the collisions they created two scoring opportunities which they clinically executed on. The first one being a relentless phase after phase pick and go movement on the Belhar line with prop Ryan Germishuys putting on the finishing touches. The second try ended off by winger Blane Hansen after a well executed back play move.
With these two scores, Village sat 12 nil up and for all money seemed determined to continue. For the balance of the 2nd half Village had further chances to put the nail in the coffin however they did not execute well enough which left Belhar in the game even though they were seemingly still wondering what had hit them.
Villager went into the break at 12-3 up with a momentum and determination in their favour.
As is often the case with club rugby, the two halves could not have been more different. Belhar made a few positional and personnel changes in an obvious move to counter the doggedness of the home team. The visitors started to gain the upper hand as Villagers’ accuracy started to wane and Belhar without doubt upped the intensity.
To win this one the Brooksider Boys would have to dig deep as Belhar unleashed attack after attack with their speedy and efficient backline. With the visitors absolutely throwing themselves at the defensive line, the Villager backline stood tallest on the day, lead by the steely grit of Man of the Match Daniel Clarke, as they defended their line like trojans.
Of course with pressure being applied something has to give and unfortunately it was the defence of Villager as Belhar ended off a great play to bring the score to 12-10 with 10 minutes left to play. This SLA fixture was going down to the wire and at times looked like a war zone with Villager players sprawled all over the park as they ignored their pain and continued fighting for what they believed in – playing for each other and the jersey.
With the final moments of the game drawing ever nearer, the visitors continued with the exhaustive pressure on the Brooksiders but thankfully unenforced errors and the determined Villager defence kept them at bay.
As if written by a Hollywood script writer, Villager tried to pick and drive out the game on their own 10mtr line but was penalised by the referee with only moments to left in the game handing Belhar the opportunity to win the game through a kick at the poles. With the the tension around Brookside palpable, the kick sailed through the air only to pull slightly left, and with a joyous rupture from the jubilant Villager crowd the referee blew his whistle moments later handing Villager a very much needed victory.
Forgetting the log table for a moment this one meant a lot to the men in white as they have worked tremendously hard on their conditioning during the holiday break and right up to this game. Without doubt the hard work they put in during the mid-season break came to the fore as they gutsed out a well deserved victory.
Although a fantastic victory and a much needed 4 point injection into the log, Villager are not out of the woods just yet as they need to attempt to pull off a historic win over Maties, on Saturday the 29th of August, to put any doubt to a playoff. Even a point against Maties could be enough, as Primrose, 1 log point below us, play Victorians at the Danie Craven complex at the same time as Villager which could make for an exciting afternoon.