Bishops Diocesan College 1st XV avenged last year’s loss to Kingswood College, beating the Grahamstown school 16-13 on their own ground on Monday evening. Having led 6-5 at half-time, Bishops held on for another impressive win on tour, having already beaten St. Andrew’s College 29-21 on Saturday.
The visitors piled pressure on Kingswood early on in the first half, but their defence held firm. It wasn’t until 17 minutes into the game that the deadlock was broken, with William Rose slotting over a penalty for Bishops.
Kingswood hit straight back, with scrum-half Pierre Wansbury darting through the Bishops defence to score the first try of the game in the corner. Bradley Sterling failed to convert.
With four minutes left in the first half, Bishops regained the lead through another Rose penalty. However, Kingswood had an opportunity to snatch it again two minutes later. Unfortunately for the hosts, Sterling was off target again and they went into the break trailing narrowly.
Kingswood came agonisingly close to scoring the first try of the second half, but Brian van der Vyver knocked the ball on as he attempted to ground it over the tryline. With a third Rose penalty having put Bishops 9-5 up, Anele Makongolo assumed kicking duties and brought the deficit back down to a single point.
Like their hosts, Bishops were denied a try due to a knock-on upon grounding after a superb maul from an attacking lineout. However, they wasted no time in executing the same move once again. This time, Matthew Norton went over for the try and Rose converted.
As the clock ticked into its dying minutes, Makongolo eased through for a try of his own to bring his side back to within touching distance of Bishops. However, he missed his conversion attempt and his try proved to be the last score of the game.
Bishops manager Dean Sudding was ecstatic with his side’s success. After the game, he said: “Coming to Grahamstown is always a huge event. We play against two smaller schools, but we regard them as very tough opponents and these wins mean a lot to us.”
Sudding hailed his side’s improvement since last year’s defeat to Kingswood, claiming: “I think a lot of these boys were hurt by last year. They struggled last season. A lot of hard work has been put in and it’s payed off.”
Kingswood first XV coach Gareth Shaw was gracious in defeat and congratulated Bishops for recovering quickly from their win over St. Andrew’s.
He admitted: “I didn’t think we’d be quite as competitive as we were at this stage of the season, so I’m very pleasantly surprised by that. I think the boys will be more disappointed than me because they realise they were in that game and they had a good chance to win it and didn’t take it. We’re probably not the finished product at this stage. We’ve still got things to work on.”
Shaw’s side will look to recover from their first loss of the season at the KES Easter Rugby Festival, where they will face Ben Vorster, Noordheuwel, and King Edward School on 13, 15, and 17 April respectively. With their pride having taken a hit, there could hardly be a better time for this inexperienced first XV to stand up and be counted.