Last weekend was the penultimate winter fixtures for Maritzburg College, and the last home games of the season, which had special meaning, especially for the matrics.
College rose to the challenge against King Edward VII (KES), with seven sporting codes in action, as well as soccer versus local rivals Alex. There was also cycling, canoeing and debating on the go.
College fielded 22 rugby teams against KES, winning 12 of their matches, drawing two and losing eight.
The rugby highlight of the day was undoubtedly the win for the first XV, who fought hard with their characteristic grit and resilience for the full 70 minutes, securing a well-earned 33-24 victory.
There was added joy as the result secured College an undefeated season on Goldstone’s for the first time since 2000.
According to first XV rugby coach Tim Orchard, a dominant second-half performance last Saturday allowed the Maritzburg College first XV to bag another victory on Goldstones.
The first half was a dour affair with both teams battling to find rhythm, and with the only points coming off the boots of the two teams’ flyhalves.
College led 6-3 at the break with Luc du Toit slotting two penalty kicks to give College a slender lead at the break.
The second half started off in a more frenetic fashion and from the kick-off College found joy, with an aimless kick being scooped up by Luyanda Kunene, who managed to find some space and more importantly, give College some impetus on the attack.
The ball was recycled rather urgently to Colm Reardon, who found space on the left side of the field, but was brought down agonisingly close to the KES tryline.
The ball was shifted through the hands again, with a series of desperate tackles from KES preventing College from scoring the opening try of the match.
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The ball then found itself in the hands of Luyanda Kunene, who threaded a well-weighted kick in behind the onrushing KES defence for Reardon to dot the ball down and open the score in the first half.
KES hit back soon afterwards through a decent passage of play from the visitors, allowing them to find space in the wider channels and reduce the deficit to a one-point margin at 11-10.
But in the end, College had the bit between their teeth and the second half was a much better showcase of attacking rugby from both teams, with the running and guile of Luyanda Kunene being the point of difference.
This game was also the last for College’s SA Schools representatives Kunene and Kubhek, who will miss the final against Glenwood next Saturday as they both link up with the National U18 team.
College’s senior A cross-country team were narrowly beaten into second place by KES A team, while KES junior A and B teams both finished ahead of College’s junior team.
College golfers beat KES 4-2.
Congratulations to two College U14 canoeists who have been awarded KZN Canoeing colours for the season; Keegan Vogt and Scott Venniker.
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Scott was also named U14 Paddler of the year, while Keegan, together with his doubles partner Ty Haynes, were the KZN doubles U16 Surfski Champions.
College secured three top 10 places in the Umgeni Legends Memorial 16 km river race held at the weekend.
Six College cyclists took part in the Illovo 40 km Eston challenge, posting good results.
Five College teams took on local rivals Alex at the weekend, securing three wins, one draw and one loss.
In the U14 Knockout Cup tournament held last Sunday, College beat New Forest 4-2, and drew against Durban Academy 2-2 (but lost 5-3 on penalties).
Fifteen hockey teams took on KES, with eight wins, two draws and five losses.
There were wins for all the A sides, and the sweetest of these was the 1-0 victory for the Red Army 1st XI, after drawing a number of matches over recent weeks.
Many of the matches were very closely contested, with College scoring 26 goals compared to the 21 scored by KES.
Undefeated on Pape’s this season, this was the best way for the first team to end the home games.