GARETH DUNCAN reports on Paarl Gym’s 16-9 victory over Paarl Boys’ at Faure Street Stadium on Saturday.
A close contest was expected in this year’s Paarl Derby as both teams produced impressive form throughout the year, having only lost one match apiece. And the action on the field didn’t disappoint as only seven points were the difference between victory and defeat.
It was Gimmies No 8 Rikus Bothma who scored the telling try during the first half, which came from a scrum inside Boishaai’s red zone. After a strong ball carry from flyhalf Handre Pollard, the WP U18 Craven Week eighthman powered through to dive over under the posts. Pollard added the conversion and two penalties to give Gimmies a 13-3 half-time lead.
In the second stanza, Boishaai dominated. However, they couldn’t finish their try scoring opportunities and Paarl Gym held on. Wing Tiaan Mouton kicked two penalties, in addition to his first three-pointer in the opening 35. Pollard’s third penalty was enough to see his team through to victory.
Paarl Gym 1st XV head coach Christoff Lotter lauded his team’s performance.
‘We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy contest, but my players started the match very well,’ Lotter told keo.co.za’s Schoolboy Derby. ‘We could’ve scored a second try just before half-time, but we lost the ball forward. But in hindsight, Rikus Bothma’s try proved to be the match clincher.
‘Paarl Boys’ played very well in the second half, but we managed to hold on. I think the presence of Handre Pollard lifted out spirits. We played a couple of centres and scrumhalves as in his place when he wasn’t around. He also recently recovered from the leg injury he picked up during Craven Week, so he didn’t get a lot of time to train.
‘But having him available brought back a lot of rhythm to our backline and he kicked important points. He’s a very important player, and he proved why on Saturday.’