The Pam Golding Properties Graeme Rugby Day drew to a thunderous conclusion in Grahamstown on Saturday when the hosts and Dale College played out to a thrilling 14-14 draw.
It was a fitting end to a day of entertaining schoolboy rugby which drew thousands of spectators to Graeme’s Somerset field.
At this early stage of the season the games were often littered with errors, but there was no doubting the commitment of the players, with Grey High and Framesby arguably producing the best performances of the day.
The youthful Graeme side will be encouraged by their performance against the Dalians, who were on the back foot near the end of the game as the home team threatened to pull off a surprise win.
With the scores deadlocked, Graeme had a chance to edge ahead with three minutes left when Lakhanya Sam lined up a penalty five metres in from touch on the 22-metre line.
Agonisingly for the home supporters, the ball hit an upright and bounced back into the field of play where Graeme claimed possession. However, they then coughed up the ball and Dale were able to clear to the halfway line.
With time up, the home side put in a desperate final effort and surged down the left flank, only to be bundled over the touchline to leave it all even.
Graeme’s tries came from lock Hlomla Maranene and big No 8 Andrew McCallum, while Dale scored through wing Mzi Ngalo and centre Simelela Mbanzi.
The potent Framesby side, full of big forwards and attacking backs, were impressive in their demolition of Queen’s after falling behind 8-0 early in the match.
The Queenians failed to score another point as Framesby piled on the pressure up front and then unleashed their backs to run in six tries in their 40-8 victory.
Speedy fullback Sebastian Brandt picked up a hat-trick and other tries came from wing Jemaine George, centre Cadan-Wade Finnis and prop Ruan Smith.
After an early try by hooker Nathan Doster from a lineout drive, Grey conceded a penalty to Hudson Park, but thereafter took control as they powered to a 57-3 victory.
Wing Siviwe Zondani led the way with a hat-trick as the PE side ran in nine tries altogether, with flyhalf Matthew Easton kicking six conversions. The Hudson Park team just could not manage the power and speed of their opponents and there were eventually gaping holes in their defence as Grey moved into overdrive.
Marlow gave a typically gutsy performance against Selborne, but were ultimately outgunned by the East London side, going down 33-19. They trailed 26-7 at the break and actually outscored Selborne in the second half, but the deficit was just too big to make up.
Kingswood were good value for their five tries which brought them a 31-0 win over Pearson, while St Andrew’s had the edge in a well-contested match against Cape Town’s SACS, getting home 27-13.
The close nature of most of the games was set early in the day when Mary Waters held on for a 12-7 win over PJ Olivier, while Muir scored tries by Mlondolozi Goba (2) and Gershwin Williams to get the better of Port Alfred High 19-7.
The results from matches on the Somerset field were:
Mary Waters High 12 PJ Olivier 7
Muir 19 Port Alfred High 7
Framesby 40 Queen’s College 8
Selborne 33 Marlow 19
St Andrew’s College 27 SACS 13
Kingswood 31 Pearson 0
Dale 14 Graeme 14