By CHELSEY DANIELS
Karoo Bokke came from 12-22 behind to clinch a nail-biting and hard-fought 26-22 bonus point win against host Newtown Wolves in their EPRU Midlands League played at the Ham and Tam Newtown Sports Ground in Fort Beaufort on Saturday. Karoo also took a narrow 7-5 lead at halftime.
The eagerly-awaited clash between log leaders Karoo Bokke and 3rd place Newtown Wolves was played in front of a large crowd who came out in their numbers to witness a spectacular ‘derby’. The archrivals always put up a good show, and it was no different on Saturday as they didn’t disappoint the rugby-loving community.
As expected, the encounter started at a great pace and intensity – a physical and brutal confrontation until the final whistle. Both teams played the game in a fantastic spirit as rugby turned out to be the winner in the end. The crowd were on their feet and never left their seats for one moment, from the kick-off until the end.
Both teams came hard at each other, and it was indeed very difficult for both teams to put points on the board. The defences were rock solid, and both teams played impressive running rugby and gave the ball air. Karoo was rewarded with a penalty try after consistent pressure after their winger was high tackled on his way to scoring in the left-hand corner in the 25th minute of the first half. Wolves played with 14 men, with their scrumhalf spending ten minutes in the bin after receiving a yellow card, but replied with a try three minutes later by Allistair Gysman. The two sides went into the break as Bokke took a narrow 7-5 lead.
The physical confrontation continued as both teams launched wave after wave of attacks at each other. The crowd cheered their boys up and started singing and dancing. Bokke scored in the 2nd minute as J Claasen dived over, while Claudio Gysman’s accurate boot kept Wolves in the game with two consecutive penalties to narrow matters at 11-12. Both flyhalves played a decent but effective kicking game and gave their side a much-needed territorial advantage. Gysman was at it again and slotted two more penalties, one 60m out, to get his side 17-12 in front.
Bokke continued to attack with ball in hand and were unlucky not to score twice as the ball was held up in the tackle in the in-goal. Wolves rang the changes and brought on heavyweights in the pack who immediately swung the momentum in the scrums. Karoo, the dominant side in the scrums all day long, were put under immense pressure and Wolves dominated, resulting in a try by Luvuyo Vister after a scrum penalty advantage.
Wolves’ tails were up and smelled victory as they led 22-12 with less than 10 minutes remaining in the game. Karoo Bokke never gave up and were rewarded for their efforts by scoring two tries after some slacking defences by Wolves, who relaxed at the death. Full credit to Karoo, who never gave up and snatched a remarkable 26-22 comeback win, which left disappointment and tears in the faces of the players and their passionate and die-hard supporters. A brilliant contest ended, and rugby took full honours as the winners. Both teams should be applauded for their efforts.
KAROO BOKKE POINTS:
TRIES: J Claasen, M Alexander, C Jacobs
CONVERSIONS: L Davids (×2)
TRIES: A. Gysman, L Vister
PENALTIES: C. Gysman
The Grocott’s Mail Sport/Daniels MEDIA Man of the Match Award went to 19-year-old utility forward Luvuyo Vister from Wolves. The youngster was outstanding in general play and was all over the park. He also scored a try, was brilliant on defence, had strong ball carries, was solid in the lineouts, and his work rate was excellent.
“Ons kan beslis verbeter op ons besluitneming en uitvoering en bestuur van die wedstryd oor die algemeen, want die keerpunt het gekom tien minute voor die einde toe ons 22-10 voorloop, wou ons hoe risiko hardloop rugby in ons eie half gebied speel, wat katastrofies tot ongedwonge foute gelei het. Die eind resultant, Karoo Springbokke druk twee verdoelde driee om met 26-22 te seevier,” said Wolves coach Graham Koeberg.