Villager FC overcame a highly motivated Young Peoples side in Paarl on Saturday 10 May that saw four yellow cards being brandished in a physical affair. Village triumphed 21 points to 11, scoring three tries to one, but failed to score the crucial bonus point try.
In having a long and proud history, Villager never expect opponents to take them lightly, however for the first time the players are realising that by pulling on the famous white jersey brings with it a certain realism that opposition teams will raise their performance tenfold in an effort to claim the scalp of the Dirty Whites. The fact that Young Peoples came out firing and continued their physical onslaught until the final whistle will serve as a good lesson moving forward; when playing for Villager FC you can never expect an easy ride, each victory will have to be hard earned through a combination of physicality, execution and determination.
In setting the tone for the rest of match, Village began the game poorly with a knock on from the kick off as well as a fluffed lineout throw on their five meter line that would culminate in a second minute try for the hosts that went unconverted. This game would be no walkover.
To Villagers credit the players hit back with an attacking prowess that lasted a full fifteen phases and would have resulted in a try but for the marginal forward pass call by the assistant referee. They were on the attack again soon afterwards with a 25 meter rolling maul that was brought down illegally, an argument could have been made for a penalty try, but to no avail. Strangely, Captain Ashley Clarke decided on the scrum option rather than another lineout and when scrumhalf Christo Terblanche conceded a free kick for feeding the ball in skew the pressure Villager had exerted on Young Peoples resulted in no reward. Young Peoples did not need another invitation to hit back.
Village lost the impetus after the first quarter owing to their inefficiency dealing with Young Peoples clever tactical kicking that kept the bigger Villager pack on the back foot and allowed the hosts too much territorial advantage. Villager will also be disappointed with their inefficiency in vital attacking areas that kept the hosts in the game.
Village did receive some respite during this phase when Young Peoples loose head prop received a yellow card for foul play, crucially weakening their scrum that resulted in a tight head on their 5mtr line which man-of-the-match flank Brodie Blows gleefully accepted to dot down for a five pointer. Clarke converted from the touchline to narrow the scores to one after Young Peoples converted a penalty of their own earlier on.
Whenever a side is highly motivated to win some players easily forget their discipline and so it was when Young Peoples conceded another yellow card for repeated offside infringements that provided Villager some much needed assistance. As a result of the card Villager took the lead through a quick tap penalty on the hosts’ five meter line which Ashley Clarke used to barge over for a try under the posts. Brother Clarke converted to move Village ahead by six points.
During this period Villager lost the services of Lock Eddie Ntaka due to a shoulder injury and shortly thereafter loose forward Angelo Peterson in a tactical swap in favour of Andrew Wilkinson that began a series of changes that would disrupt the Village fluency on attack in the 2nd half.
Half time score 14 – 8.
The second half started in earnest, but again the Village lineouts continued to be an issue and was even more so after replacement lock Stephen Buerger left the field after the first minute due to a knee injury. Newly acquired Matie stalwart, Faan Basson made his Village debut in the unfamiliar position of lock as replacement further disrupting the crucial set piece.
Village had a good chance to score early on after good interplay between backs and forwards but was unfortunately lost forward by winger Donny Venter. The trend from the first half where poor handling, option taking and intensity would continue to prevent Villager from closing the game out and allowed Young Peoples to believe an upset was on the table which is always a dangerous position to be in.
Village had another opportunity not long afterwards when a loose ball fell into the hands of Daniel Clarke who quickly moved the ball to winger Jannie Bester who raced a full 60 meters to only step out in the process of diving over. The resulting lineout was expertly stolen by Brodie Blows who passed to Ashley Clarke who again barged over for his second try of the afternoon. Clarke converted from the touchline to move the score to 21 – 8.
Young Peoples did not give up that easily and came close to scoring for the first time of the half when they broke down the blindside only to be thwarted by the hand of replacement scrumhalf Jonny Sweetnam, although penalised, he saved a sure try. They were rewarded shortly thereafter with a penalty that brought them to double figures after a period of sustained pressure in Villagers 22. Young Peoples trailed by ten.
The last quarter of the game saw Young Peoples throw everything they had at the visitors but their penchant for kicking possession away or losing it at vital periods ensured they never crossed the whitewash again. Two more yellow cards were brandished during this period one to Brodie Blows who was deemed to have thrown a punch after an altercation at the breakdown and Young Peoples received their third for another unnecessary punch that ruined what had been up till that point a fairly well-disciplined game.
Villager held out to win a closely fought game by 21 points to 11, but it was by no means an easy victory as Young Peoples caused all sorts of problems out wide on counter attack with their quick hands and pacey outside backs. It is also worthy to note that had Young Peoples inside centre and kicker converted all his kicks for the afternoon the game may very well have ended differently as eight points were left on the park.
In assessing the game afterwards the inefficiency of the Villager pack at set piece contributed to a poor attacking display by the Brookside team as they were left to play with scraps which were not dealt with exceptionally well. However the lineout difficulties can be explained somewhat by the fact that all three squad hookers were unavailable which dealt a big blow to the side’s preparation but it must be noted that replacement Ziyaad Fredericks stepped in admirably and played extremely well around the park.
Head Coach Andrew Hughes in his assessment afterwards was not all too worried about the display but believed there is definitely work to be done, “Winning away from home is always the first priority in this league and to do so by ten points is encouraging. Young Peoples came out today to beat us and nearly did but we stuck together and pulled through, although not one of the best performances I’ve ever seen, a win is a win.”
Villager take on Collegians at Lentegeur next weekend which will prove another challenge to Hughes’ side, “We will have to improve in many areas if we are to beat Collegians away next weekend most notably in the lineouts but we will have Troy Lee back which will make a big difference although we are expecting to lose the services of Stephen Buerger who is struggling with a knee injury. These are all challenges that we have to embrace and look to our senior players to pull us through.” Hughes continued.
Tries: Brodie Blows, Ashley Clarke (2)
Conv: Daniel Clarke (3)
1st XV vs Young Peoples:
1. A. Coetzee 2. Z. Fredericks 3. A. Cleophas 4. E. Ntaka 5. R. Bezuidenhout 6. A. Peterson 7. B. Blows 8. A. Clarke (cpt) 9. C. Terblanche 10. D. Clark, 11. D. Venter 12. B. Sanders 13. S. Pattison 14. J. Bester 15. J. Valentine
16. D. Searle 17. R. Germishuys 18. S. Buerger 19. A. Wilkinson 20. F. Basson 21. J. Sweetnam 22. M. Rockhill