Allies dig deep for the win

WELL DONE: Brandon van der Berg scores the opening try for Alberton.

HOËRSKOOL Alberton finished their league on Saturday, 10 June, with a hard fought victory over Riebeeck Rand. The final score was 28-13 after Allies led 7-3 at the break.

Allies needed to get a bonus point for four tries and hoped that Linden did not to win the league and qualify directly for the finals. The visitors started off well and were running the ball at the hosts from all over. The Riebeeck backline were impressive throughout the day, on defence and attack.

They put the hosts under good early pressure and were rewarded with a couple of penalties from long range. The first attempt was just wide but the second sailed through the middle to give the visitors a deserved early lead of 0-3.

For their part, Allies’ counter attack, with Jonothan Potgieter and Kallie Grung at the forefront, looked very keen and when a late tackle on one of the Allies players, after a long raking kick, ended up in the No7 of Riebeeck getting 10 minutes in the sin bin for his efforts, allies had their best chance to attack the opponents’ line.

They set up a lineout and when the ball came to the backline, captain Brandon van den Berg (13) showed both speed and the ability to run good lines to go over under the sticks for a superb try. They didn’t manage to score after that so that was the the half time score: 7-3.

Allies were still under pressure to score three more tries and, to be fair, their finishing looked to be out of sorts. There were at least two tries that went begging.

ACTION: Kallie Grung on his way to scoring a try.

They must have got a roasting at half time because they started the second half with more enterprise and were stringing phases together, although an area where they battled was in the loose where the visitors won a few turn overs. This was, obviously, frustrating for the hosts. They did show more resolve and with Riebeeck Rand prepared to run from deep, the hosts applied pressure deep in the opposition’s 22m area. This paid off when one of the Allies managed to trap a Rand player in possession and ripped the ball.

The impressive No8, Sfundo Nkosi, who was moved from flank, showed great composure and determination to go over in the corner. The conversion by PJ van der Merwe was good and the lead was extended to 14-3. Allies still had a lot of work to do and pushed for another try. They were running from all over and, at times, looked to be losing composure as they appeared to becoming desperate.

Riebeeck Rand had also managed to score an unconverted try to cut the deficit to 14-8 and still looked to be in the game. Kallie Grung was at home at inside centre and looked impressive whenever he touched the ball. He did score a good try after showing good strength and determination. This was after sustained pressure on the visitors’ line and despite a huge defensive effort by them.

At 21-8, the game looked in the bag but Allies were still searching for a bonus point. But Riebeeck Rand didn’t think that they were out of it and put Allies under the added pressure of having to defend their own line. The visitors were rewarded with a try in the late stages and they were back in the game.

But Allies are never a team to give up on anything and attacked with all they had. At times they did look desperate and obviously when desperate you lose structure and the game became very loose. Time was running out and about a minute from time the touch judge picked up an injury and had to receive treatment. Allies had a line out left and had to score. After winning the line out the forwards drove the ball up and then played short passes and crash ball. On about the fourth attempt, it was Dimitri Koutoulogenis that forced his way over to get the bonus point try. Immediately after the successful conversion the final whistle blew.

Linden did get their bonus point, so for the second time this season we will have a local derby with Alberton and Dinamika playing for the right to play Linden in the final.

We can expect the same type of cracking game on June 17, again at Alberton.

It is worth noting that Alberton have two teams in the semi finals – u-14 and 1st XV while the u-15 team won the league and qualify for the final directly. Dinamika have both u-16 and 1ST XV in the semi finals.

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Wayne Raath

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