KEARSNEY College first XV and St Stithians of Johannesburg produced a match chock-full of adventurous running studded with moments of individual brilliance and well-worked tries but punctuated with an uncomfortable number of unforced errors.
The touchdowns on The Stott were shared 5 apiece.
Next up for Kearsney is another home game – when they meet Hilton College this Saturday, 2 June 2018 on The Stott.
Kearsney lit up the scoreboard first in the St Stithians match through a penalty goal by the ever-consistent Taine Muirhead (3-0).
The 3-pointer in the 6th set the tone in the next 10 but errors coupled with wrong options kept the Saints within reach.
Kearsney pressure finally turned into a 7-pointer… a move that reflected much work on the training paddock saw fullback Robbie Koenig break the line before forwards/backs contributed to set up winger Gcina Gumede’s flight over the whitewash out left (10-0).
Featured image: Kearsney College fullback Robbie Koenig races away from his St Stithians pursuer during the 36-31 victory on The Stott Saturday.
Photo Tracey van den Aardweg
Momentum shifted… Saints collected a Kearsney outlet-pressure kick to nail a collective 7 points in dazzling fashion out right (10-7).
The hosts recovered fast. From the kick-off, pressure earned a penalty after a dangerous tackle on winger Gumede.
Kearsney opted for a scrum feed. A precision backline move ensued. A marked degree of player-to-player awareness and cohesion – earned through considerable effort at trainings – resulted in the selfsame Gumede touching down on the other side of the park from where Saints had transgressed.
The Muirhead conversion set Kearsney 17-7 at halftime.
The teams changed ends and St Stithians gave evidence that they were far from done. Somewhat against the flow, the visitors capitalised from a spilled ball, making short work of a disorganised defence (17-12).
A Saints touchdown would tip the balance in the visitors’ favour for the first time. It duly happened when Kearsney let themselves down with another soft error and the 7-pointer saw the scoreboard read Kearsney 17 St Stithians 19.
Not for long. A quickly-taken Kearsney penalty and clever punt was followed up by fullback Koenig. As the 15 readied to catch-and-dive for try-time, a Saints tackler committed too early. The consequent penalty try tilted the balance in Kearsney’s favour once again (24-19).
The Kearsney spark blossomed into full-blown flame when, first, lock forward Jordan Morum benefited following structured play off a scrum launch. Then, a quickly-taken Muirhead/Koenig lineout combo stretched Kearsney’s lead to 36-19 with 14 left.
Once again, the Saints signalled they weren’t done. Sustained pressure earned 5 points (36-24).
With the final whistle looming, further mindful attack by the Saints culminated in Kearsney losing a yellow-carded defender.
A converted try confirmed that Saints made maximum of the opportunity.
Final score – Kearsney 36 (17) St Stithians 31 (7)
Kearsney – 5 tries, 4 conversions, 1 penalty
St Stithians – 5 tries, 3 conversions
Kearsney match summation – Positives: ball-in-hand & field-position. Concerns: missed opportunities & at-times poor discipline.
Next up: Kearsney vs Hilton College on The Stott.
Date & kick-off: Saturday, 2 June 2018 at 3pm.
* Kearsney Founders Weekend.