Grey High claimed an unconvincing 10-3 victory over hosts Wynberg on Friday afternoon.
Inclement weather and heavy underfoot conditions resulted in an error-ridden performance from both sides, neither of who got into the game in the first half. This was not helped by a 30-minute delay because the WPRFU referee failed to arrive.
Wynberg had the upper hand in the opening minutes when the game eventually got underway. They used their heavier pack to good effect and had Grey on the back foot.
Both kickers missed easy penalties in the opening 15 minutes, before Grey found some rhythm and stretched the home team’s defence from side to side. They were awarded a penalty just inside Wynberg’s 22m line, and centre Nic Holten made it 3-0 after 17 minutes.
From the ensuing kickoff, Wynberg controlled possession and built a series of successful phases. Wynberg right winger Zungisa Nziki was prominent in taking the game to the opposition and Grey were penalised for being offsides at the ruck about 30m in front of the uprights. Wynberg flyhalf Kieran Goss levelled the scores five minutes before half-time.
Goss then made an impressive break from just inside his half, evading numerous tacklers before being pulled down just 2m short of the tryline.
The second half saw Grey play with the wind at their backs and tactically they made better use of their possession than Wynberg.
The hosts struggled at the lineouts, while both teams were guilty of overusing the boot with the game deteriorating into a stop-start affair.
Grey finally broke the deadlock after Holten missed his third penalty attempt. Goss’s 22m restart was sliced and the ball landed in Michael van Vuuren’s hands, with the prop smashing his way through four tacklers before being dragged down just 5m short of the Wynberg line. Some slick handling from Grey’s backs saw flanker Siya Kolisi dart between two defenders to get the touchdown. Holten added a tricky conversion and Grey led 10-3 with eight minutes remaining.
Wynberg attacked vigorously but were kept at bay by some staunch defence from Grey, who also forced numerous turnovers at crucial stages. The Grey loose trio of Renier Erasmus, Siya Kolisi and captain Siya Mangaliso were prominent in this area all afternoon, stealing Wynberg’s ball on the ground at will. They were the pick of the visitor’s players along with Van Vuuren.
Wynberg, to their credit, kept on attacking and nearly stole a draw at the death. Van Vuuren, in a moment of madness, tried to get the ball off the park but kicked it sideways. The ball bounced 2m from the touchline and nearly found its way into the hands of Wynberg centre Ezra Williams, who knocked it on.
The final 10 minutes was extremely physical, and both sides had players strewn all over the field at the final whistle.
Wynberg will be disappointed with the result, because this was a game they could have won. The Williams brothers excelled in the centres while Nziki looked dangerous with ball in hand but he had few opportunities. Wynberg squandered nine points through missed kicks and also turned down two very kickable penalties. It was their best opportunity in years to break the Grey stranglehold that the Port Elizabeth side has had on them.
Grey head coach Dean Carelse told keo.co.za that he was delighted with the result.
‘We faced several problems during the week that hampered our preparation and although the win wasn’t pretty it was massive for my players as they had to dig deep to squeeze out a victory.’
In another result, Bishops annihilated Bellville High School 57-0 on Thursday.
By Gareth Wright