by CHESLEY DANIELS
In an exciting and entertaining main curtain-raiser between Lily White 1st and Klipfontein United, the United side surprised the EPRU Grand Challenge side with a fine 23-10 win in their friendly encounter at the Oval on 11 February. The visitors also took a narrow 12-10 lead at the break.
Both sides did not disappoint the large crowd at the Oval and entertained them with some exciting and highly competitive running rugby. United played to their strength and made the game quick by playing to their skillful and exciting backline, led by the experienced former EP Mighty Elephants player Kelvano King.
Lily White were on a roll as they scored first in the form of Thandile Mize with Siyabulela Gebuza converting, and later slotted a penalty to give the home side a solid 10-0 lead. The United team, known for their slogan “Never Give Up”, came back strongly and were especially dangerous in broken play. They replied with two tries first half tries by Cornelius Scheepers and Braden Jacobs, while King slotted a conversion to give his side a narrow 12-10 lead at the break.
United started gaining momentum and gave the ball air, running from within their own half with their confidence overflowing. The crowd got behind the visitors as Dylan Graaf scored a brilliant try after a fantastic break by King in their own 22m area. Graaf showed tremendous pace, outsprinting his opponents and ran 55m to score in the left hand corner. United lead 17-10. Blues continued to make mistakes although getting solid ball from their dominant scrums. United piling the pressure as the home side giving away unnecessary penalties. King capitalized with two second half penalties to extend his side’s lead 23-10.
Lily White aka Blues found it difficult to come back and score any points in the second half and are probably very disappointed with themselves. Full credit to a determined United side who came to Makhanda and beat Blues against all odds.
The Grocott’s Mail Sport and Daniels MEDIA Man of the Match went to playmaker and flyhalf Kelvano King. The evergreen and classy player once again shown why he is still highly rated and was the brain at the back. He controlled the game with his explosive pace, vision and deadly sidestep. The Step King was involved in all the tries and he was a headache on attack.
King was very impressed with the youngsters in the side that shown tremendous character. “The youngsters really stood their ground and put up their hands against a quality side today. We managed to play in the right areas and used our opportunities and chances. Our scrums need lot of attention and we should work on that this coming week. We must build on Saturday’s performance and improve when we play in the Paterson Lions tournament on Saturday” he said.
Lily White 1st Reserves won 17-10 against Klipfontein.