Gates breaks Graeme hearts

Muir College captain Shane Gates kicked a last-minute penalty to condemn hosts Graeme College to a 26-24 defeat on Saturday.
The visitors were the fluent team after an attritional first 10 minutes, but the hosts were first on the score sheet when hooker Tyrone Rankin crossed the chalk after an excellent rolling maul that Muir were unable to counter.

The visitors then found their groove and after countless phases that found no headway through the solid Graeme defence, a chip kick by Muir scrumhalf Lulama Mkwakwi caught the Graeme defence flat footed and left wing Neo Mehlwana pounced on the loose ball to reduce the margin to 7-5.

The visitors then pinned the hosts in their own territory for the rest of the half, but weren’t clinical enough to put them away and only added a further penalty via Gates to make it 8-7 at the break.

Graeme laid siege to the Muir line in the second half and were rewarded when right wing Juandre Nel scored a try to take a six-point lead.

However, the visitors wrested control of the game and cut the lead by three points from another penalty. A cross kick from Gates had Graeme left wing Jonathan Nunn exposed to two Muir forwards, and SA Schools hooker Jason Thomas snaffled the ball on the bounce to give his side a 16-14 lead.

Then a breakout from deep within the Muir half was rounded off by outside centre Lisa Banzi. The hosts found a second wind and scored through centre Aubrey Mpongoma to reduce the deficit to two points and then regained the lead through an Alex Banfield penalty.

The game then became an arm wrestle as both teams vied for favourable field position. The hosts coughed up a penalty 25m out and near the right touchline, where the captain coolly slotted the penalty to secure the nail biting win.

By Khanyiso Tshwaku