By Chesley Daniels
Swallows produced a clinical performance against Enon Rugby Club in their EPRU Inter Sub Union Quarter Final with a dominant 24-12 win in Enon on 23 September 2023. The SEDRU Champs dominance saw them in a healthy position at halftime, leading comfortably by 17-0.
Swallows continue their winning streak with 13 wins in a row with this quarter-final win over Enon.
The SEDRU Champs travelled to Enon to take on the Sundays River Valley Champs in an all-important play-off fixture in wet weather conditions in front of a decent crowd that came in their numbers to support their Champs, come what may.
The Makhanda side started like a house on fire and took the game to the home side, who are a very difficult side to beat in their own backyard, especially in front of their loyal and passionate supporters. Swallows always knew that it would be a daunting task to get past the home favourites, but played with so much confidence and self-belief. Both teams knew the importance of this playoff encounter, and a win is non-negotiable in order to go through to the next phase in the Semi-Finals in their quest for promotion to the Adams Cup for 2024. Both teams are also known for their ability to give the ball some air and possess some exceptional talent and skill within their ranks.
It was apparent that the Swallows’s big forwards would once again dominate upfront, and as a result, they enjoyed territorial advantage and possession over their smaller counterparts. The visitors are known for their powerful pack of forwards, who were the best in the league and continued to do so to put them on the front foot from the onset. Swallows received some scrum penalties as they completely overpowered the home side in that department, while their lineouts functioned very well in the difficult wet conditions.
It was Swallows’ forwards who gave their skilful backs the perfect platform to work from that, resulting in Man of the Match and fly half Zenovan Denston showing his class and brilliance in the backline by scoring 17 first-half points (2 converted tries + a penalty) on his own. The young, talented and highly skilful fly-half was in sublime form on attack and sliced through the slack defence of Enon, scoring two magnificent tries. Enon were out and about in the first half as Swallows took complete charge and control of affairs.
The physical battle continued in the second half as both teams confronted each other with some brutal hits and attacks. Enon started to find their feet and played with their speedy backs, who looked very promising with the ball in hand while on the attack. Swallows still maintained ball possession and made themselves comfortable by playing for a long period inside Enon’s half of the field. During the second-half of the match, Swallows’ star player, Zenovan Denston, was sent to the sin bin, allowing Enon to claw their way back with two tries in the 10 minutes in his absence. Swallows lost a bit of focus during the time, and credit should be given to Enon for not giving up. After the 10 minutes, Swallows then continued their ascendency, dominance and game advantage complimented by their robust and cohesive defence. Swallows continued their dominance to seal the match that saw loose forward Jaco Buys put the cherry on top with a fine-worked team try, converted by Zenovan Denston.
The SEDRU Champs held their composure to clinch a clinical and dominant, well-earned 24-12 win in the end.
MAN OF THE MATCH
There was absolutely no doubt that the Grocott’s Mail Sport and Daniels Media Man of the Match went to the General fly half of Swallows in Zenovan Denston. He was just in a class of his own on the day when it mattered and put his side in a driving and commanding position from the kickoff. The highly-rated youngster, who also represented the SEDRU team, was just absolutely brilliant and outstanding overall and was a real headache host throughout the day. He scored two brilliant tries, two conv, versions and a penalty by scoring all 19 points for Swallows on the day. His attacking prowess in the wet weather conditions and surface was magnificent.
* Swallows will face Karoo Springbokke from Cradock in their Semi-Final Clash this coming weekend. Venue to be confirmed by EPRU.