An Unforgettable Match in George
Unforgettable. Nobody who was at Rosemore Stadium in George on 3 August 2019 will forget the end to the Classic Clash between Pacaltsdorp Senior Sekondêr and George High.
Time was up. George led 15-14 but Pacaltsdorp were in their half. Over near the touchline on Pacaltsdorp’s right, the experienced referee Jason Jaftha penalised George.
Pacaltsdorp opted to kick at goal, and tall Moustapha Esau prepared to take the kick. He had already kicked three straightforward penalties but missed an easy conversion. This would be his most difficult kick.
The tee was brought to him and he placed the ball on it.
The ball rolled off the tee.
He put it back on the tee.
The ball rolled off the tee again. He put it back on the tee and went back to his mark, partly crouching aand looking at the ball with intensity. He stalked forward, gathered momentum and with his left foot struck the ball. It soared towards the posts and …
The kick was OVER!
And Pacaltsdorp won 17-15, and Esau picked up his tee and ran away towards his goal-line as gleeful team-mates ran after him to celebrate their excited delight with him.
Moustapha Esau will never forget that moment, nor will anybody else there, not even the George players, plunged in the gloom of disappointment.
At half-time, Pacaltsdorp led by one point at 11-10. At the final whistle they led by two points, even though George had scored two tries to one.
George looked physically stronger than the boys from Pacaltsdorp, and they were stronger in the scrums, but Pacaltsdorp were far more effective in the lineouts.
It was a lovely sunny, still day in George under the Outeniqua mountains. But nobody at Rosemore Stadium was looking at the view. There was intense concentration on the match.
George started off like a house on fire and led 10-0 after just 10 minutes after a penalty by flyhalf Breyten Witbooi and a try by strong inside centre Jaydin Baardman, which Witbooi concerted.
In the next hour of play they managed only another five points as Pacaltsdorp stood up to them and developed their own attacking, much of it started by Esau’s up-and-unders. Esau also kicked two penalty goals and the score was 10-6 after 18 minutes.
The Pacaltsdorp try came after some sharp attacking, in particular a clever box kick by scrumhalf Ronald King and a brilliant pressure pass from Davino Meyer to flank Anwil Slotto who scored not far from the posts. 11-10.
George had two excellent chances to score. First they tapped a penalty and were bashing at the line till they were penalised. For the second one, on the stroke of half time, lock Romando Josephs was over the line but ruled to be held up.
Early in the second half, George reclaimed the lead when Baardman tapped a penalty and gave to outside centre Jack George, who broke with a powerful hand-off and then gave to flank Keith Kietwiets who scored to make it 15-11.
With 21 minutes to play, Esau goaled a penalty and it was 15-14, as the score stayed for the next 20 minutes of attack and defence till with time nearly up George were penalised just in from touch and Moustapha Esau became a hero.
It was an absorbing match on a beautiful day in beautiful surroundings. The ground was in excellent condition with the teams resplendent in new kit – the sky blue of Pacaltsdorp and the royal blue of George. The Classic Clashes deserve rich praise for the way they go about things.
Try: Anwil Slotto
Pens: Moustapha Esau 4
Tries: Jaydin Baardman, Keith Kietwiets
Con: Breyten Witbooi
Pen: Breyten Witbooi
Pacaltsdorp: 15 Davino Meyer, 14 Adriaan Miggels, 13 Cheolen Erasmus, 12 Moustapha Esau, 11 Garth Sauer, 10 Juandré Olifant, 9 Ronald King, 8 Sheldon Pietersen (captain), 7 Shu-Laygon Potts, 6 Anwil Slotto, 5 Warren Damons, 4 Ethan Abrahams, 3 Breyton Grootboom, 2 Lesley Marnevil, 1 Roysten Heynes
George: 15 Rowan Williams, 14 Matheus Fortuin, 13 Jack George, 12 Jaydin Baardman, 11 Browin Syster, 10 Breyten Witbooi, 9 Elzavian Campher, 8 Allistiar Nortje, 7 Keith Kietwiets, 6 Francouis Cummings (captain), 5 Romando Josephs, 4 Fabian Pietersen, 3 Rowan Jumat, 2 Leogyn Stefaans, 1 Verneto Morris
Referee: Jason Jaftha (South Western Districts Referees’ Society)
Assistant referees: Hermanus Lamprecht (South Western Districts Referees’ Society), Johannes van Heerden (South Western Districts Referees’ Society)