By CHESLEY DANIELS
St Mark’s from Alicedale maintained their unbeaten record in the EPRU Sedru Regional with a clinical 40-7 bonus-point win over Swallows at St Aidens on Saturday.
The wet and rainy weather conditions didn’t make playing easy, and it was no surprise to see numerous handling errors. Log leaders St Mark’s continue their winning streak in the competition while the struggling Swallows are still win-less.
But the game was played in a fantastic spirit as both teams further cemented their friendship with ties that spanned back years. Both teams were never shy to run the ball despite the wet conditions.
Swallows lost their captain Nolan Willemse in the first five minutes of the game through an injury and struggled in the scrums throughout the game. Swallows were also without several senior players and forwards and were demolished in the scrums by the bigger and heavier St Mark’s forwards pack who dominated both at scrum time and in the lineouts.
The visitors scored several bulldozing tries from their favourite lineout driving mauls. The Bulls also kept the ball amongst their big powerful forwards who ran the ball at Swallows, gaining metres and putting their side on the front foot. Big Brian Buys led the charge and scored two bulldozing tries with his storming runs. The visitors scored three unanswered tries in the first half to take up a healthy 19-0 lead at the break.
Swallows came out a different team in the second half and started to through the ball around and sent it wide, putting the visitors under pressure. Jody Duiker, Elandre Sias and Luciano September caused problems with their attacking flair. St Mark’s, desperately searching for that all-important bonus point, tried too hard and made unforced errors along the way.
Young Flanker Kepler Louw continued his sublime form from the first half, led the attack and was outstanding under pressure in his all-round prowess. St Mark’s were rewarded for their momentum and calmness that saw them score three further tries in the second half.
The bonus point was never out of the question – it was just a matter of time. Swallows introduced young Deano Boesak, who came on and scored the only try and points for the home team. He was promising and sharp on attack. Centre Kido Alexander of St Marks also produced a steady performance with his solid defence, powerful attacking runs and was effective at the breakdown.
Tries for St Marks: Brian Buys (×2), Sydney Ntjaneni, Cole Kirkwood, Ettienne Blou, Cameron Jewell
Conversions: Cameron Jewell (×5)
St Mark’s flannk Kepler Louw was the Grocott’s Mail Man of the Match for his brilliant all-round performance. His colossal ball carrying was outstanding. He was also solid on defence and brilliant at ruck situations.
Swallows 1st Reserve won 34-12.
Head Coach of St Mark’s Donovan Williams is delighted with his side’s bonus-point win and their composure. He is also impressed with their discipline and praised his hardworking forwards, who laid the foundation week in and week out. “We showed improvement on our discipline in tackling area. We need to work on the ruck situations to be more patient on the ball and at the mauls. Also, improvement in lineouts and our driving mauls were quite effective as usual.
“Very impressed with Kepler Louw, who had a storming game both attack and defence,” he said.