By Chesley Daniels
It was blood, sweat, and tears at the Albany Sports Club match between Swallows and Kowie United on 12 August 2023.
Swallows were victorious for the second time this season over Kowie in their EPRU SEDRU Regional League second-round fixture and rightfully claimed bragging rights. The win over arch-rivals Kowie made Swallows the Unofficial SEDRU Champs for 2023 with one game to spare in the competition against Rhodes for the log leaders. Swallows are now 14 points clear of second-placed Old Collegians, while Kowie is in 4th position.
The SEDRU Inter Municipality Derby between Swallows and Kowie always lives up to expectations and this game was no different. The Albany Sports Club saw hundreds of rugby enthusiasts filling the stadium. Although Swallows beat Kowie in their own backyard in the first round in Port Alfred, it was always known that Kowie was coming to Makhanda to take revenge on favourites and log leaders, Swallows.
Swallows’ dominant pack of forwards was at it again and laid the foundation upfront, especially in the scrums. It was a physical battle up front as Kowie didn’t stand back, but it was again the Swallows’ forwards pack who got the edge over their counterparts. The first half belonged to the home side as they scored two tries. But they should have scored more points throughout. Wonga Wakashe and Ethan Slang September scored the only two tries of the match for their side in the first half to hand Swallows a decent 15-5 lead at the break.
The home side started losing focus and concentration. Kowie launched a fantastic comeback in the second half by scoring two tries to narrow matters. Swallows made unnecessary mistakes and enforced errors. But, credit should also go to the visitors who grabbed the chances offered to them and put the log leaders under pressure. Swallows brought on their replacements in the second half as the physical and brutal battle continued, especially upfront. The log leaders’ defences stood firm and didn’t give the visitors any chance to score points or get away with an upset win.
In the end, it was the defensive structures of Swallows who showed composure to finish the contest with a narrow 18-17 win. They recorded their 11th straight win in the competition as the only unbeaten side.
POINTS FOR SWALLOWS:
TRIES: Ethan September, Wonga Wakashe
CONVERSION: Zenovan Denston
PENALTIES: Zenovan Denston (x2)
POINTS FOR KOWIE:
TRIES: Duane Brown (x2), Luciano Nelson
CONVERSION: Duane Brown
MAN OF THE MATCH
Young lock forward of Swallows, Zane Lood Stokes, earned the Grocott’s Mail/Daniels MEDIA Man of the Match for his sterling performance in the Derby encounter. Lood was just outstanding in the lineouts, both attacking and as part of the defensive lineout for his team. He was a live wire on the park and also solid on defence. His supporting play and general play were also great.
LATEST EPRU SEDRU REGIONAL LEAGUE LOG AS AT 12 AUGUST 2023:
- SWALLOWS – 49 (11)
- OLD COLLEGIANS – 35 (11)
- RHODES – 27 (8)
- KOWIE UNITED – 24 (11)
- KLIPFONTEIN UNITED – 23 (9)
- NDLAMBE TIGERS – 12 (11)
- ROSEBUDS UNITED – 4 (9)