It isn’t always a simple matter to show, in the space of a few hours, what one stands for and what one is made of. But the collective attitude, aspirations, community, culture and spirit that is Maritzburg College could never have been so brightly to the fore than it was this weekend at Westville.
To witness something so vividly and emphatically come to fruition must have been a special treat for those who labour over these ideals while teaching in the classrooms and on the playing fields day in and day out.
With Maritzburg College first XV staging one of the greatest comebacks in its long, proud history and capturing 14 victories overall in 17 matches against Westville, it was a day never to be forgotten for the Red Black White.
Feature photo caption: Maritzburg College number 8 Sphephelo Mbonambi lunges for the try line to score. Photo: Dan Becket
College’s 1st XV were 7-26 down at one stage, before scoring 35 unanswered points in the second half and winning the match 42-26, an outstanding performance.
College first XV head coach Tim Orchard reports on what went down in Westville:
“On Saturday, Bowden’s was the venue of a mouth-watering encounter between Maritzburg College and Westville. Both sides were looking to get a vital win before the end of term, with this being Westville’s last game of the season.
“Westville started the match the much better team and raced away to a comfortable 26-7 lead at halftime with College looking all but dead and buried. The expectant Westville crowd were relishing the opportunity to get one over their rivals from Maritzburg but one must never underestimate a College team with their backs to the wall.
“The first half of the fixture was all Westville as they had the wind at their backs, which allowed them to pin College deep in their own half. This territorial pressure paid off handsomely as Westville were allowed to accumulate points at ease through some very basic College errors.
“College did score a try of their own, when in the 18th minute Sphephelo Mbonambi broke off a rolling maul to score in the corner. The try was converted but that was the only real attacking College had the entire half.
“Westville entered halftime 26-7 up and looking all set to score a big win against their rivals.
“The second half was an exact mirror image of the first, but now with the College team with the wind at their backs, having the ascendency and playing all the rugby.
“In what was to become a famous come-from-behind victory, Liam Prinsloo barged over to get the ball rolling with a wonderful solo effort, which was converted by AJ Knoetze.
“In the 50th minute, Kuhann van der Berg scored the first of his brace of tries to put in motion a juggernaut performance by the College team, who now smelled blood and were dominating proceedings.
“Keagan Goddard scored next after coming on as a second-half replacement to put College in the lead for the first time during the match. The score, incredibly, now stood at 28-26 and College looked set to score more points in the half.
“Kuhann van der Berg scored his second try to further extend the lead now to 35-26, with AJ Knoetze in fine form with the boot. College carried on hammering away at the Westville line with Sphephelo Mbonambi scoring at the death to silence the Westville crowd, to place the score at 42-26 with AJ Knoetze kicking over the conversion to end the match and to bring down the curtains on a fine College second-half performance.”
College won 14 of the 20 rugby matches they played on the weekend, losing 6. Against Westville, College played 17 games and won 14, losing just 3. Apart from the electrifying 1st XV comeback, the College 2nd XV – after being 19-0 down, fought back magnificently to secure a 29-24 victory.
Tries: Mbonambi x2, Prinsloo, Goddard, and van der Berg x2
Conversions: Knoetze x5
Summary of Scores
Team Opposition Venue Result Score
1st Westville Bowdens 1 Won 42-26
2nd Westville Bowdens 1 Won 29-24
3rd Westville Bowdens 1 Won 31-27
4th Westville Bowdens 1 Won 24-5
5th Westville Bowdens 1 Won 34-5
6th Westville Bowdens 1 Lost 7-8
16A Westville Bowdens 1 Won 25-15
16B Westville Commons 1 Won 6-5
16C Westville Commons 1 Won 29-17
16D vs Michaelhouse 16C Tarpeys Lost 5-28
15A Westville Commons 1 Lost 5-12
15B Westville Commons 1 Won 28-19
15C Westville Commons 1 Lost 12-19
15D Westville Commons 2 Won 50-7
15E vs Michaelhouse 15D Baileys Lost 0-15
14A Westville Commons 2 Won 25-8
14B Westville Commons 2 Won 55-0
14C Westville Commons 2 Won 28-0
14D Westville Commons 2 Won 56-0
14E vs Michaelhouse 14D Far Meadows Lost 0-50