Bishops Too Street Smart for Tygerberg

Mon, 22/07/2013 - 16:16
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Bishops outscored visitors Tygerberg by four tries to one to run out comfortable 31-10 winners in their match, played in chilly but dry conditions on the Piley Rees Field on Saturday 20 July 2013.

Injuries played their part, both going into and during this lively match, watched by what was, given the Arctic temperature, a reasonably large crowd.

Already forced to start without talismanic scrumhalf TJ Goddard and former SA Schools hooker François Esterhuyzen, the Tygers suffered a further blow when nippy reserve scrumhalf Damian West had to leave the field with a chest injury early in the second half. With the bench lacking a reserve scrumhalf, substitute flyhalf Ivan Kunz had to fill in, which adversely affected the limited possession the visitors were receiving at that stage.

Their hosts took the field at full strength with the return of no. 8 Saud Abrahams, flyhalf Herman Share and full-back Gerard Pieterse, but lost Share late in the first half with a dead leg. However, the Platinum Blues were fortunate enough to be able to bring on experienced pivot Ty Wills, which, crucially, lent continuity to their play.

The Tigers took the game to Bishops from the kick-off and soon had points on the board via the boot of inside centre Morné Kotze, who slotted a penalty, when the home backs were caught offside. (Bishops 0 Tygerberg 3 – 2 minutes)

Bishops stormed at the visitors from the restart, but young flyhalf Wynand McLachlan found touch with a huge kick. Undeterred, left wing André Manuel attacked for the hosts, but found flank Lucian Williams on hand to hack the ball out of harm’s way.

This respite was to prove only temporary as full-back Gerard Pieterse put in a fine run down the right, releasing right wing Ant van Ryneveld for a great try in the corner. Flyhalf Herman Share converted. (Bishops 7 Tygerberg 3 – 8 minutes)

As Bishops’ confidence grew so they increasingly threw caution – and the ball – to the wind, a temptation which proved too much for fleet-footed Tygerberg outside centre Robin Kuys, who latched onto one optimistic pass to outpace the defence for a fine opportunist try, which Kotze converted. (Bishops 7 Tygerberg 10 – 11 minutes)

After the hectic opening minutes, play then gradually setlled down, even if the home team was still flirting with long-passing disaster.

Shortly before half-time Kotze nearly stole through for a try, only for Bishops to go on a counter-attack which ended with outside centre Justin Heunis touching down – ironically from a humble hack through, not a spectacular backline move. Share added the extras for his final contribution to the game. (Bishops 14 Tygerberg 10 – 24 minutes)

All that happened in the remainder of the half was that both kickers, Kotze and Bishops’ substitute Wills, missed penalty attempts, the former from what seemed to be well within his range. Half-time: Bishops 14 Tygerberg 10.

Bishops started the second half with a deep kick, which crossed the tryline, only for the resultant 22 metre drop to be charged down. Several rucks followed in the Tigers’ red zone before lock Sam Mitchell crowned a fine Man of the Match performance with his side’s third try, converted by Wills. (Bishops 21 Tygerberg 10 – 38 minutes)

Persuasive words from Bishops coach Dave Mallett saw his charges playing a far more conservative pattern in this half, favouring driving play with ball in hand.

The next score came when Wills cemented the hosts’ comfortable advantage with a simple penalty. (Bishops 24 Tygerberg 10 – 43 minutes)

Shortly afterwards West left the field, after which the Tigers found it very difficult to claw their way back into the game, not that they didn’t try right to the very end.

The one negative aspect of Bishops’ attacking with ball in hand was that it made the visitors’ task of reining them in considerably easier, although Wesley White was providing more than a few headaches before he was given a breather late in the game.

The driving play by the forwards eventually led to the only other scoring movement of the game, loosehead prop Dan Russell diving over near the posts to give Wills an easy conversion. (Bishops 31 Tygerberg 10 – 56 minutes)

The visitors gave their all in the closing quarter of the game, full-back Hanston Fielies almost creating a gap out of nothing and replacement wing André van Eeden being forced out wide on the right on two occasions, the first of which saw Bishops Craven Saud Abrahams put in his best drive of the match, taking the ball from his tryline to outside his 22 metre area.

Just before the final whistle Craig Hale’s troops looked like scoring only for a cruel bounce of the ball from a neat grubber to elude a diving Kotze. Final Score: Bishops 31 Tygerberg 10.

Tygerberg can take from this game the knowledge that they were by no means outclassed, despite the disruptions with which they had to cope. They can rest assured that the southern suburbs schools continue to have a healthy respect for their resilience and never-say-die attitude.

Bishops were given a gilt-edged chance to adapt their play to the conditions. That they did so is but one indication of the green shoots sprouting on the snooker-table-smooth Piley Rees field after a lengthy barren spell. Full Time: Bishops 31 - 10 Tygerberg.

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