With their last home victory against Paarl Gymnasium in 1999, Bishops’ 11-6 win on Saturday is a big step toward repeating last year’s 6th place FNB Top20 ranking.
After a mixed preseason, including narrow 24-23 loss to Selborne at the Grey Rugby Festival, the 1-point half-time deficit (with the hosts trailing 6-5) painted a picture of a weaker Bishops outfit in 2011. However, not to be overawed, Bishops delivered sustained continuity between backs and forwards to set a solid platform.
Paarl managed an early lead through flyhalf Handre Pollard, but unforced mistakes such as handling errors, lost lineout ball and soft turnovers spoiled the guests’ forward momentum. Bishops, on the other hand, fought for control of the set-pieces; lock Stephen Buerger a standout. From one such lineout his locking partner Cameron Doyle made the centre-field break that would lead to flanker Ra-eez Salie’s try and a 5-3 lead.
But a final minute first-half penalty to Pollard would spoil Bishops’ dominance. But with the wind behind them, Bishops were able (in conjunction with the same dominance up front) to kick for territory and force Gym into conceding penalties. Outside centre Tim Swiel would not repeat his two first-half misses and slotted two penalties to close the door on the visitors.
Gym will undoubtedly regret frequently squandered opportunities, whilst Bishops will look for stand-outs such as Tarquin Carlsson (eighthman, captain) to carry their form into their coming home fixtures against Tygerberg, SACS and Boland Landbou. With more home matches than 2010, Bishops are likely to vie for a place in the top five.
In other results Paarl Boys’ High capitalised on a solid forward effort to lead 5-0 at half-time against Outeniqua, with the backs demonstrating greater penetrative capacity in their 20-7 victory. Drostdy downed SACS 39-5, including 22 unanswered second-half points.
Boland Agricultural walked over DF Malan ten tries to one in their 62-7 win, and Tygerberg High ran away with proceedings in their clash with Duinefeld (Upington), scoring seven tries in the 45-3 thrashing. Rondebosch’s 21-15 win over Wynberg Boys was a tighter encounter; both sides scoring twice, but three penalties from scrumhalf Hilio de Abreu proved enough to secure the win.
Bishops 11 Paarl Gymnasium 6
Paarl Boys’ High 20 Outeniqua 7
Rondebosch 21 Wynberg 15
Durbanville 22 De Kuilen 12
Stellenbosch 27 Hottentots Holland 0
Boland Agricultural 62 DF Malan 7
Strand 20 Primrose 6
Rangers Club 13 Bergvliet 10
Excelsior 15 Macassar Club 6
Tygerberg High 45 Duinveld (Upington) 3
Kasselvlei 88 Elsies River 0
President 23 Bellville Tech 3
Brackenfell 43 Bernadino Height 0
Porterville 31 Fairmont 10