Kearsney hosted Michaelhouse in a highly anticipated first post-COVID fixture in ideal playing conditions.
Kearsney started very well and was soon rewarded with a Matthew Bergset penalty for the first points of the match.
The hosts dominated proceedings and, apart from their sloppy line-out work, deserved an early lead of 17-0 with a try from lock Ben Field from good support following a chip from flyhalf Lethu Gwarube, which centre Singele Mkhize collected to put him in possession to outsprint the defence.
Eighthman Thomas Carmody also contributed with a converted try after some good continuity play from a loose ball in the opposition half. Credit to the visitors who put their best passage of the half together, to score an unconverted in the right-hand corner, and trail 5 – 17 at half time.
The visitors continued with their newfound energy and soon scored from a midfield scrum after some elementary defence errors by the hosts. The converted try narrowed Kearsney’s lead to 17-12.
Michaelhouse had their tails up and put the home team’s pack under pressure with line-out mauls. The next House try came from a quick tap penalty following an infringement by Kearsney in the attempt to stop a driving maul. The converted try saw the lead change hands for the first time with the visitors ahead with 19-17.
Michaelhouse stretched their lead after another defence pattern blunder and the converted try saw them with a 26-17 advantage; and now seemed to be in control, as the home team suffered disruptions with many injured players.
Somehow, they pulled together and found rhythm again and the last 12 minutes produced exciting moments. One opportunity came from a failed clearance from the visitors when they were turned over at a breakdown.
Kearsney man of the match centre Mkhize ran a sharp line and scored almost untouched next to the upright for Bergset to convert and shrink the deficit to 24 – 26.
The home team had some further opportunities, but solid defence brought the match to a closely contested end. Mkhize, Michael Ngwenya, Field and Bergset performed well and deserve special mentioning.
PHOTO: Tracey van den Aardweg
Michaelhoue 26 (5) – Tries: Joe Price (2), Zakwe, Vermeulen. Conversions: Vermeulen (3). Kearsney College 24 (17) – Tries: Ben Field, Tom Carmody, Singele Mkhize. Conversions: Bergset (3). Penalty: Bergset.