Kearsney Festival: Dale just win thriller
MATCH REPORT: On the third day of the Kearsney Easter Festival, Dale came from behind for a thrilling 22-21 victory over HTS Middelburg.
The wind had dropped to a breeze but was still blowing downfield. Dale were playing into the breeze with HTS Middelburg having a slight advantage.
The HTS forwards were the stronger unit and it showed early on as Middelburg scored two unanswered tries. Dale however came back towards the end of the half scoring two tries.
The first Middelburg try was scored by Andries Koen who, after a wrap-around, found a gap and scored under the poles. Morné Sonnekus was successful adding the extra points. Five minutes later HTS were awarded a penalty 5m from the Dale line. Middelburg tapped and formed a rolling maul which got over and flank Henco van Heerden came up with the ball. Sonnekus was again successful with the kick and HTS Middelburg led 14-0 and were looking dangerous.
Dale consolidated and in the last 10 minutes of the half they fed off scraps, but kept HTS in their own half. From a ruck 20m out, impressive No.8 Thandile Mpangeva burst through going over for their first try. The conversion was wide but the Dalians were back in the game.
This gave them added confidence and from broken play a toe forward bounced favourably and prop Sibongile Kampi was quick to dive on the rolling ball in the in-goal area. This time Dale College captain Aphelele Fassi made no mistake and the sides crossed with HTS Middelburg having a slender 14-12 lead.
The second half was cut and thrust by both sides as they played mainly in midfield with first one side attacking, being rebuffed, and then the other side attacking, but neither reaching the try-line.
With just over 10 minutes remaining wing Andrico Johannes wrong-footed the defence and running diagonally across field was brought down just short of the try-line. Kampi, following him, picked up the ball and went over for a try, much to the delight of the Dalian supporters. Fassi converted and it was Dale that had taken a 19-14 lead.
With a 45m penalty, Fassi added another three points, so that HTS would have to score twice if they were to win the game.
Middelburg did come back and from a good passing movement through the hand of backs and forwards, found Van Heerden on the outside. He dived over in the corner for his second try. A brilliant touchline conversion by Sonnekus brought HTS to 21-22 behind with just a minute remaining. Dale held on for an exciting end to this good game.
For HTS Middelburg:
Tries: Henco van Heerden 2, Andries Koen
Cons: Morné Sonnekus 3
For Dale College:
Tries: Thandile Mpangeva, Sibongile Kampi 2
Cons: Aphelele Fassi 2
Pen: Aphelele Fassi
By Sue Miles of Working Words
Photo: Tracey van den Aardweg