Boishaai Muscle Too Much For Bishops

“Not without a fight !”  Bishops lock Connor Evans clings on to the ball despite the efforts of Paarl Boys’ High’s Gideon van Wyk (Left) and Stass Nel during Saturday’s game.
(photo: Madison Beley)


Paarl Boys’ High outscored their hosts' Bishops by seven tries to three to run out comfortable 41-23 winners on the Piley Rees field on Saturday 1 June 2019.

In what was a rather scrappy match, considering the much-vaunted skills of both sides, the visitors made considerably better use of their opportunities, while effectively holding the home attack in check for a large part of the game, thanks to a solid defensive display.

The scoreline ultimately flattered the Platinum Blues as it was only in the last eighteen minutes that they showed any real attacking penetration, scoring three tries.

Unsurprisingly, play largely was restricted to a midfield battle in the opening minutes as the sides tried to find weaknesses in the opposing defences.

The hosts started encouragingly, exploiting a Boishaai knock-on, which soon developed into a penalty advantage, to set up an attacking line-out on the visitors’ 22-metre line.

However, the Brug Street side stole the line-out ball, with inside centre Tyler Bocks breaching the defence before releasing no. 8 Gideon van Wyk, who made fifteen metres.  In response, when Bishops regained possession, scrumhalf Liam Kloosman just failed to gather his own chip ahead.

The home side promptly ran a penalty at Boishaai, the attack fizzling out when left wing Sam Marthinussen was forced into touch on the 22-metre line.  The visitors’ clearance was collected by right-wing Luca Liebenberg, but an unsuccessful drop goal attempt by flyhalf Sacha Mngomezulu handed the initiative back to the boys in the striped jerseys.

When Bishops could only clear straight into Boishaai’s hands, the visitors ran it back to good effect, left-wing Javier Farmer seeing his kick ahead bounce into touch some twelve metres short of the hosts’ line.

Next came an attacking foray by the visitors’ slightly-built full-back Jacques Rousseau, who put the home line under pressure.  A penalty for obstruction in a ruck followed, allowing flyhalf Kian Meadon to set up a five-metre line-out from which the powerful Van Wyk drove his way over to open the score.  (Bishops 0 Paarl Boys’ High 5 - nine minutes)

Rousseau came to the fore again, clearing the restart to just short of halfway.  The hosts were showing great determination, but their desperation to put points on the board was evident when a second attempted drop failed.

The visitors hit back immediately, Farmer seeming to have sliced through the home defence, only for his team-mates to be blown up for running interference.

At this point, a controversial decision - or rather, the lack of one - led to the second Boishaai try.

A Bishops player, bending to pick up a rolling Boishaai kick-ahead, was blatantly pushed in the back, resulting in the ball finding its way to scrumhalf Wian van der Sandt, who doubled his side’s advantage. (Bishops 0 Paarl Boys’ High 10 - 14 minutes)

The kick-off bounced into touch on the visitors’ 22-metre line, only for Van der Sandt to clear, but the home team continued to press forward, forcing a Boishaai handling error.  Overzealousness cost Wes Chetty’s men dearly as they were penalised for failing to release the ball in a tackle in a promising field position.

After a brief exchange of kicks, a fine line-out take by Bishops’ lock Craven Week lock Connor Evans led to a penalty for his side, which full-back Matt Lennett duly converted. (Bishops 3 Paarl Boys’ High 10 - 21 minutes)

This restored the home team’s confidence and Mngomezulu almost broke the defensive line from the kick-off, before Lennett saw a second penalty attempt fall just short.

For once the visitors seemed flustered, conceding a further two penalties in quick succession, Lennett successfully goaling his third shot at posts. (Bishops 6 Paarl Boys’ High 10 - 26 minutes)

Bishops finally put together a trademark flowing backline move, although Marthinussen was denied once again by the touchline.  Undeterred the hosts wrested the ball from Bocks but were ushered over the touchline again.

Play became rather scrappy for a few minutes as both sides needlessly conceded possession before Mngomezulu stole the ball and threatened the defence, only to be bundled into touch.

The fearsome power of the Paarl scrum was evident when they shoved Bishops off their own put-in, but Van Wyk was adjudged to have infringed.  Mngomezulu found a promising touch, but any thoughts of a morale-boosting try vanished with a forward pass, which brought the first half to a close. Half-time: Bishops 6 Paarl Boys’ High 10.

The spectators had hardly had time to return to their seats when the kick-off was shuttled to Farmer, who sprinted 40 metres down the left touchline to dive over in the corner. (Bishops 6 Paarl Boys’ High 15 - 37 minutes)

Rosseau and Mngomezulu traded kicks before the visitors drove forward purposefully, forcing Lennett to concede a penalty for not releasing the ball.  Meadon found touch inside the Bishops 22, but the Platinum Blues stole the line-out ball, allowing Mngomezulu to push play back to ten metres inside the Boishaai half.

Kloosman gathered possession after the line-out, but couldn’t find a chink in the visitors’ defensive armour, flank Stass Nel retaliating by breaking through a porous home defence and grubbering the ball to within 23 metres of the home tryline.

What looked to be a fine relieving touch proved to be anything but as Van der Sandt exploited a gap before offloading to Man of the Match Van Wyk, who outpaced the home defence from 35 metres out.  Meadon converted. (Bishops 6 Paarl Boys’ High 22 - 42 minutes)

This proved to be the first instalment of a double hammer-blow as Van der Sandt slipped through a lazy defence to feed his outside centre, Quan Horn, who darted down the touchline to dot down his ninth try of the campaign. Meadon added the extras. (Bishops 6 Paarl Boys’ High 29 - 45 minutes)

It looked very much like the floodgates were being oiled in anticipation as the home defence started doing a passable impersonation of Swiss cheese and, when they were penalised, Meadon punished them with a raking touchfinder that forced them back to eight metres from their line.

Given the visitors’ dominance, a try was almost a foregone conclusion, hooker Allister Williams emerging with the ball from the unstoppable rolling maul. (Bishops 6 Paarl Boys’ High 34 - 50 minutes)

However, all was not lost and Mngomezulu raised the home supporters’ faint hopes when he took a quick penalty and dummied his way over for his side’s first try. (Bishops 11 Paarl Boys’ High 34 - 52 minutes)

The pivot almost repeated his feat, but his side had to be content with a penalty seven metres from the Boishaai line.  A poor pass seemed to have put paid to that attack, but Kloosman took a quick penalty and ensured that play remained within striking distance of the visitors’ whitewash.

This time it was Bishops’ turn to flex their muscles and burly tighthead James Bolton crashed over from the line-out. (Bishops 16 Paarl Boys’ High 34 - 58 minutes)

The crowd was finally being treated to the Bishops they had come to see and the ever-alert Mngomezulu showed why he was selected for the Craven Week with another fine break.

Despite the visitors being somewhat under the cosh, it was Liebenberg who was called on to save a dangerous situation.  Unfortunately, the respite was short-lived as Horn carved open the defence to send Rousseau in for Boishaai’s seventh and final try, goaled by Meadon. (Bishops 16 Paarl Boys’ High 41 - 65 minutes)

With the visitors flexing their considerable muscle, the game ended on a high for the slightly dazed home supporters when the ever-alert Kloosman took a tap penalty near halfway, chipped it over a hesitant defence and won the sprint to the touchdown.  Bennett's conversion was the last act of the match.  Final score: Bishops 23 Paarl Boys’ High 41.

The visitors undoubtedly lived up to their burgeoning reputation and their massive derby in August looks set to be a battle royal, provided they can sort out a few minor frailties.

For Bishops, a tough week lies ahead with Rondebosch, who also lost on Saturday, coming to the Piley Rees on 8 June.  Alert to the potential danger, their opponents restricted them to just one full line movement, the life-blood of any Bishops team.

Arguably the greatest regret many purists will have is that an injury to Bishops skipper Isaiah Wharton denied them the chance to see how he fared against his fellow-Craven Week no. 8 Gideon van Wyk, but then you can’t have it all.

What sent everyone home happy was the wonderful camaraderie between the two institutions which was especially evident when both sets of learners proudly sang their school songs on completion of the game.

This is how school sport should be.

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