Kearsney edged out Michaelhouse 13-12 in a bruising KwaZulu-Natal encounter on Saturday.
After a mediocre showing at their Easter Festival, where they only managed one win from three, Kearsney got their 2010 campaign back on track.
The visitors opened the scoring with a Warren Seales’ penalty in the 20th minute, and largely controlled the rest of the half through solid defence. But after a Kearsney mistake Michaelhouse gathered the ball and scored just before the break through wing Michael Watson.
Seales kicked a penalty early in the second half, before a pop pass to Gareth Reece-Edwards, after repeated bursts round the fringes, saw the No 8 go under the posts for a converted try and a 13-7 lead.
A late charge from Michaelhouse had Kearsney on the ropes, the home side running through phases with pick-and-drive play before outside centre Patrick Howard dotted down in the corner. However, the conversion sailed wide.
‘It was a physical clash with both teams playing big defensively,’ said Kearsney 1st XV coach Barend Steyn. ‘But in drizzly conditions, which meant a greasy ball, the finishing wasn’t up to scratch from either side.
‘We had the better of the first half, and made a lot of linebreaks but the final pass just didn’t seem to be there. To Michaelhouse’s credit, they worked hard for turnovers, and consistently made metres when we coughed up the ball.’
Despite their strong defensive showing and increased composure in the second half, Kearsney hemorrhaged penalties at the breakdown which will need to be rectified before their away clash with Hilton on Saturday.
‘The score was a fair reflection of the match, but we know what we need to improve on ahead of next Saturday’s match,’ said Steyn. ‘Hilton have strong forwards and a few game-breakers at the back. We’re expecting a lot from around the fringes and a tough battle come scrum-time and lineouts.’
‘We’re going to attack from the set play, and put emphasis on committing the right numbers to defence [so they aren't caught short out wide].’
By Rory Keohane