Graeme College took part in a number of fixtures over the past weekend. Graeme’s junior teams faced off in a full set of rugby fixtures against Westering, while the Senior teams faced Queens in a full set of rugby and hockey fixtures as part of their annual derby day.
The Graeme junior school headed off to Westering Primary for their annual fixture and started the day perfectly. Graeme won five of the seven matches before Westering struck back winning the u11 A and u13 A matches. The u13 A game was a tight battle with Westering sneaking home with a 24-21 win.
The Graeme senior derby against Queens started on Friday evening, with three hockey games. The First team managed to hold Queens at bay, but struggled to create too many chances of their own. The Graeme keeper, Liyabona Nkombisa, was pivotal in his team staying in the hunt, and Chris Gleaves came within whiskers of putting Graeme ahead just before half time. Queens eventually broke through the Graeme defence late in the second half, and then struck again a few minutes later to secure a deserved 2-0 victory.
The rugby squads travelled to Queenstown, with the First team hoping to reproduce their home win in 2017. The last time Graeme travelled to Queens, many questioned the fixture with Graeme taking some heavy defeats at the hands of their hosts; especially playing at one of the toughest venues to play schoolboy rugby in South Africa.
The u14 A side started the fixture off with a unconvincing first half performance, going into the break at 7-7. They hit their straps and switched to a clinical mode in the second half, and seemed unstoppable in their 56-12 win. The Graeme u16 A side showed brilliant determination in defence the week before, and managed to carry that over to the Queens fixture. Their brilliant effort meant that they managed to hold on to a spectacular 17-10 win. Despite the strong performances from the u16 A and the u14 A sides, Queens won most of the matches on the day especially dominating the senior games. The First team knew that they had a tough encounter ahead of them.
Graeme looked threatening at times early in the game but struggled to look after possession at crucial times in the first half. Queens managed two tries from deep in their own half, with their deadly backline punishing Graeme errors. When they scored a third try to lead 19-0 at the break, all seemed lost for Graeme.
Graeme struck early in the second half through a well worked series of phases, which sparked the side into action. They ended up scoring four tries in the second half and defended with great tenacity. Queens only managed a penalty in the second half, which came at the end of the game and that meant that they snuck back into the lead 22-21, with 45 seconds left on the clock. Graeme had one last chance to fight back.
Thuso Mokhele regained possession from the kick-off, allowing Graeme to put together countless phases of possession, going well beyond the end of time. Two penalties out wide were ran as Graeme gave everything in search of the points that they needed for the win. The pressure eventually took its toll on the Queens defence as Sixolile Lamani crossed over in the corner, securing the win for Graeme. The try sealed a historical 26-22 victory for Graeme College.