Dale, Queen’s set for epic Eastern encounter

Dale will host Queen’s in the Schoolboy Derby feature match of the weekend.

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Both schools have a strong chance of victory in this Eastern Cape Reunion derby on Saturday.

Dale have been the most impressive team from the region, enjoying an unbeaten streak with nine wins and two draws from their 11 fixtures. Their two stalemates have come against Glenwood (24-24) and Paul Roos (27-27), with the latter having to score a last-minute try to avoid defeat.

Queen’s suffered three defeats at the Kearsney Easter Festival earlier this year, but have built good momentum since then and now have an impressive record. They have won seven of their ten fixtures, including a big 22-19 win over Grey PE two weeks ago.

Dale on the charge in their win over Westville

But it is believed that this will count for nothing as Eastern Cape derbies are usually close contests. This was proven in Dale’s 10-9 edging of Selborne last weekend. Despite Selborne’s poor form this year (they had lost six times before the match), Dale still had to dig deep for the win.

Dale 1st XV head coach Grant Griffiths believes it will be another tight affair against Queen’s.

‘All records and previous form definitely goes out the window when it comes to these kind of clashes,’ Griffiths told Schoolboy Derby. ‘Selborne played very well, and it will be another big challenge against Queen’s.

‘This is our Reunion match, so the atmosphere will be big! All the old boys, pupils, their families and spectators always make it a major occasion.’

Griffiths credits his team’s 2012 success because of their big pack of forwards, which will be key in their challenge against Queen’s.

‘In the past, we’ve always had a good backline. But this year, we have a couple of big boys up front and that has given us some bite,’ he said. ‘I managed to see Queen’s in action this year and they have a well balanced team. Their halfback pair is very influential in their game plan. They were unlucky to lose some of their contests, but have come back strongly.

‘The key battle will be between the forwards. We need to create a good platform for our backs.’

By Gareth Duncan