March 20, 2023

Weekly Sports Roundup – 18 March 2023

/ Sport

The weather, like the day’s results, dished up a little bit of everything on Saturday when Michaelhouse hosted old rivals ‘Maritzburg College for the first round of the domestic winter sports season. In the end, the sun shone on Michaelhouse as far as results in the big ticket contests went.

Saturday would have been packed full of mutual unknowns for all of the boys pitting their hockey and rugby skills against each other in the age groups – the last full fixture between the two schools having been contested in 2019. For the more seasoned spectators though, the visitors taking control in the majority of the age group fixtures would have been predictable. House’s U14A hockey lads pulled off an organized 2-2 draw while the boys in the B XI cruised to a good 5-0 win. The C and D team results didn’t go the host’s way. Down the avenue, and contending with cold, wet and blustery conditions, House’s U14C rugby boys came away with a memorable 24-14 win. The D and B sides went down slugging while the A team was outgunned (10-29) by bigger and faster opponents for a second week on the trot.

Michaelhouse’s U15D boys triumphed (21-17) over College’s E team with the three higher teams in the age category capitulating in like-for-like fixtures; although with just two points separating the A teams (24-26) House would have felt that they had their chances to avert a whitewash in the age group.

The hosts came out on top overall in the U16 hockey fixtures, winning two and drawing two of the four games ahead of the U16A clash, which College clinched in a 2-1 thriller. It was straight losses in the three U16 rugby starts for Michaelhouse before the U16A match set the tone for the afternoon’s results on Meadows. In the third XV game ahead of the U16A kick off, House had slotted a long range penalty to take the lead with under a minute to go, only to bungle the kick off and allow College to score after full time snatching a 34-29 win from the proverbial jaws of defeat. That was the backdrop to the U16A game where a Michaelhouse outfit on the back of a frustrating defeat to Helpmekaar a week before faced the challenge of an unknown opponent in College. With the second half maturing, House found themselves 21-10 up before the visitors ratcheted things up a notch to cruise into a 25-21 lead in the dying exchanges. By now, and in typical Midlands fashion, the day had settled into a sweltering early afternoon. In similar Fashion, the hosts turned up the heat muscling over for a try, flyhalf Stefan Moolman’s conversion was a formality for an epic 28-25 win.

Meanwhile, up on the astros the hosts had gone down in the fourth XI clash before forcing a good draw in the third encounter. House’s seconds cruised to a solid 2-0 win followed by a systematic dismantling of the visiting first XI. House’s 3-2 victory, just the second over College in the twenty first century, was a blend of control, aggression, flair and home ground advantage. Ahead of the second XV kickoff, College had earned the upper hand in the open rugby results, winning thirds, fifths, and sevenths. The list of Michaelhouse fourth and sixth team rugby players who can boast of beating ‘Maritzburg College in like-for-like contests is not a long one, and it was exponentially increased on Saturday with 21-17 (sixths) and 12-7 (fourths) arm wrestles going the way of gutsy teams in red jumpers. The Michaelhouse second XV, destined for memorable things this season, met stern opposition in College, but class and conditioning got them over the line for their 28-20 win. Shade was at a premium around meadows by the time the referee got the 178th match between Michaelhouse and College underway. Physicality coupled with that College Aura quickly established the visitors as the dominant force in most aspects of play, and at 0-15 down, and reduced to 14 players the hosts were soon severely under the pump. Handling errors in the pressure cooker of the advantage line and the occasional poor decision marked much of both teams’ play; but belief and a willingness to stick to an expansive game plan, coupled with better control at ruck time were the backdrop against which Michaelhouse clawed their way back into the game. At 20-20, and for the sake of their pounding heart rates, most Michaelhouse supporters may have been ready to settle for a draw, the second in as many weeks; but skipper Fortune Mpofu’s team had different plans, and when the ball was recycled through a few phases on College’s try line before being flung wide with under two minutes left on the clock, those same supporters knew that they wanted it dotted down just to the right of the uprights for an easily converted try, sealing the 27-20 win, the 49th for Michaelhouse in an incredible 126 years of rugby rivalry between these two wonderful schools.

During the week, the Michaelhouse squash juggernaut shifted into overdrive when the second team, along with a mixed team, overcame the Hilton College first team, 9-1. Later, at the Pietermaritzburg Junior Squash Open, Michaelhouse players dominated the top ten of the U19 competition (first: Jacob Sinclair, second: Joshua Hoatson, fourth: Nathan Hoatson, seventh: Justin Higginson) with Connor Hatfield placing sixth in the U16 category and Callum Fly third in the U14 group.

Copyright © 2024 Michaelhouse. All rights reserved.