False Bay defeated but not deflated

False Bay’s Thabo Ngcongo one step ahead of the defence during Saturday’s SLA fixture against Durbell. Picture: Gavin Withers

Motorvaps False Bay travelled to Durbanville at the weekend and although defeated, returned with a band of proud warriors who stuck their hands up and shocked Durbanville-Bellville RFC in the process. The final score was 20-29 after the visitors led 13-5 at the break.

No Capetonian needs reminding of the extremely wet weather experienced in the Peninsula last week. Localised flooding were the order of the day for most of the week and it would have been no surprise if the programme of matches were postponed due to inclement weather. The drainage at the Durbell fields, especially on the main pitch, is outstanding and although making for extremely heavy going, the pitch stood up to three gruelling contests.

The hosts were unlikely to test the underfoot conditions with an expansive game. They were always going to play a forwards-based game. By contrast, the Bay would have been naïve to engage in hand-to-hand combat with the gigantic men from the northern suburbs. Their obvious plan was to give the ball as much air as possible, their lighter players better equipped to cover the heavy turf faster and more effectively.

Bay’s first try was a perfect example as they ran at Durbies and spread the ball wide. Ewan Adams, in the unfamiliar full back jersey, snatched a slightly wayward pass to him from behind his body and rounded the defence to score under the poles. He converted.

Livewire flyhalf Ewan Adams slips past the defence during this side’s clash against northen suburbs powerhouse Durbell. Picture: Gavin Withers

It was not a match that warrants a play-by-play report. There was some exciting play, most of which was produced by False Bay, their endeavour and fighting spirit catching Durbell off guard. False Bay scored two tries, both converted by Adams, while the hosts scored five, two of which were converted. On the face of the points-scoring list, that is a pretty resounding defeat. Five tries to two.

False Bay’s Niyaaz Johnson looking to spread the ball during his side’s match against against Durbell, at the weekend. Picture: Gavin Withers

Three of those tries were of the aforementioned forward rumble to the line, another scored off a scrum and the fifth, scored on the wing off a tighthead against a depleted Bay scrum on their own line. No gripes about that, powerplay to score points cannot be faulted. Big powerful players, especially upfront. What else to do? Only the losing team will complain. A five-try victory is invaluable, especially against old foe to whom you lost in the pre-season friendly encounter, and more painfully, in the SLA2022 final at Danie Craven Stadium last September.

What is worth noting in a report such as this which is published in the southern suburbs, is the character displayed by False Bay, the “local” team to our readers. Ravaged by injury and player unavailability, False Bay travelled down the N1 to face the favourites, a plan in hand and confident of an upset. Positional rearrangement was the order of the day. Adams at fullback a revelation, Dylan Frylinck’s skills at pivot already well known and they produced the goods, perhaps even giving food for thought in terms of variation.

Up front young Josh du Toit, an under-20 flank playing in about his eighth First XV match, was outstanding at lock. He epitomised the determination and pride of False Bay. Yet when epitome is mentioned, the performance of scrumhalf Niyaaz Johnson truly demonstrated False Bay’s spirit. He did everything expected of him and more and simply never gave up.

False Bay’s Niyaaz Johnson cool under pressure during his side’s match against against Durbell, at the weekend. Picture: Gavin Withers

Performances like these and that of their teammates is what the Bay faithful need to heed. Broadcast on live streaming, many were exposed to a game they would not have attended, and with the Bay in the lead for most of the contest, they were surely shaking the floorboards with excitement.

Many expressed dismay at the plethora of cards dealt out by referee Jaco Smith, his second consecutive False Bay match in a row. He flashed four yellow and a red card, three to the visitors, one for the home team. After four minutes of the second half, False Bay were permanently reduced to 14 when powerhouse Tahriq Allen was sent for an early shower, an alleged retaliatory punch his undoing. Yet, in fairness to Smith, the cards, with the exception of the red, were justified upon second view. The alleged punch by Allen, wickedly missed by the camera, leaving a gentleman of the game gutted at a mandatory suspension.

Nevertheless, this is the essence of False Bay’s downfall on the day. A minimum of 40 minutes playing with 14 men, at times with as few as 13. Facing a powerful team such as Durbell? Cards follow desperate defence.

False Bay’s Nyasha Shiripinda looks for support during his side’s tough encounter against Durbell. Picture: Gavin Withers

The Bay have a bye this week and then host UWC next Saturday.

  • Jon Harris is a member of False Bay RFC.