The Last Schools Day at Newlands
If the plans go ahead, Newlands will close down as a field of dreams at the end of this season and today’s schoolboys will be the last schoolboys to play at the great ground, a home to many generations of rugby men.
The schoolboys and their supporters gave Mom a special hug and a kiss as they said goodbye on a cool and windy day. No schoolboys in years to come will have the privilege that these 18 teams had.
The event on March 10, started quietly and then there were three one-sided matches before the contests became serious. SK Walmers, Milnerton and Durbanville were two strong for their opponents. Those three 22 tries in three matches, for at this tournament the only way to score is by tries. There are no kicks at goal that count as points. And the matches were 20 minutes a half, which meant that Durbanville scored their 50 points in 40 minutes..
The supporters, packed onto the Grand Stand, were marvellous, lively, cheering, singing, laughing – such a happy band, loving their schools.
Then Stellenberg played Northern Suburb neighbours and it was tight as Bellville were determined.
The last four matches were between the Big Four of the Southern Suburbs and the Big Four of the country, three from Paarl and one from Stellenbosch.
Country won 3-1 but Southern Suburbs did really well.
SACS found the going tough against the bigger farm boys but were by no means disgraced.
Wynberg were astonishing. With three minutes to go, they were down 10-5, but attacking with strength and vigour till Paul Roos cracked and the scores were level. Then, as the siren sounded to signal the end of the match’s time, Wynberg scored again and won the match.
Paarl Boys’ High and Paarl Gim are seldom out of the top five of rugby schools in South Africa.
Rondebosch did not cave in at all and scored the try of the day. Down 15-0 with the match in its dying two minutes, they ran the ball from their own line, literally from their own line. Boys’ High do not yield, but Rondebosch kept relentlessly battling their way up the field, hard metre by hard metre. A penalty helped them on their way and then a prop burst free and gave a clever pass to a fullback who scored in the left corner. Dalvon Blood was the one who had moved into a clever position to take a clever pass from prop Lukhanyo Vokozela and ground the ball over the line, but in fact the whole team scored it.
Bishops scored first against Paarl Gim, when Michael Ford, a flank in blue headgear, broke, dummied twice and scored. He scored a second try in second half, and gave possibly the best performance of centre play on the day. Mind you it was a Paarl Gim centre who scored the winner, the ;last schoolboy try at Newlands – Ethan James who was at Craven Week last year.
Paarl Gim’s big lock Reynhardt Crous powered over to level the scores and by half-time Gim led 10-5. They increased this to 15-5 till two tries by Bishops levelled the scores at 15-all in a match bravely committed defences.
Then Gim tapped a penalty and James scored in the left corner. Bishops came back after that and had the throw-in to a lineout five metres from the Gim line, but the throw was skew. From their scrum, Gim kicked the ball away and won the match.
Remember Ethan James, who was the last boy to give the Grand Old Lady of Newlands a farewell kiss.
Scottsdene High vs Gordon High, 10-5
SK Walmers RFC vs Busy Bee RFC, 30-5
Milnerton High vs Melkbosstrand High, 30-0
Durbanville High vs Brackenfell High, 50-0
Stellenberg High vs Bellville High, 10-0
Boland Landbou vs SACS, 20-5
Wynberg Boys’ High vs Paul Roos Gim, 15-10
Paarl Boys’ High vs Rondebosch Boys’ High, 15-5
Paarl Gim vs Bishops, 20-15