St Stithians finished on the right end of a cracker of a game at Parktown on Saturday, holding out under severe pressure in the end to win 33-24.
Saints bounced back well from their disappointing loss to St John’s last weekend and started the stronger of the two sides. They looked in control for most of the first half and led 13-5 at the break, and 20-5 two minutes into the second half. At that stage they were cleaning up in the rucks and mauls and had stolen a number of lineouts on the Parktown throw.
Parktown flyhalf Wade Groenewald produced the first of several touches of individual brilliance in the eighth minute of the second half, getting a try which spurred a Parktown comeback and they closed the gap to 20-17 at one stage.
Saints kept their cool, however. They defended well and kicked the penalties that came their way. They eventually got a late try to take the game out of reach.
St Stithians flyhalf Morgan Ferguson got it tactically right. He kept the game in the Parktown half with his educated boot and brought his forwards into the game at the right moments.
His Parktown counterpart, Groenewald, produced some great moments, but tried a bit too much on his own in the crucial period when his side was on attack.
For Saints, eigthman Kurt Notling had a big game. He tackled like a demon and carried the ball strongly. He was rewarded with two tries. Their other try was by scrumhalf Stewart Wooler who snapped up the ball at the back of a disorganised Parktown scrum and darted over.
Ferguson, who missed only one shot at goal on the day, converted all three tries and kicked four penalties.
Groenewald scored two tries for Parktown and centre Wesley Johnson got one. Groenewald also kicked a penalty and two conversions.
Saints head coach Yaldren Vickery said he was delighted at the way the side bounced back after the disappointment against St John’s.
‘It was a huge win in the context of the season,’ he told keo.co.za. ‘Another loss and we might have folded. The boys stuck to the basics, showed patience on attack and character on defence. This ranks with our best performances of the season.’