By Carlos Kambaekwa
Saturday, the 20th of July 2008, will certainly go down in the annals of history in Namibian rugby as the moment of one of the most entertaining club rugby matches ever having been played on Namibian soil.
Rehoboth Rugby Club welcomed cross-town rivals Falcons in the MTC Namibia Premier League match at the Reho Stadium in Rehoboth on Saturday, and what an intriguing match it turned out to be.
The match also doubled up as the annual Rehoboth derby between the two teams after the initial fixture, which normally serves as a pipe opener for the new season, was postponed earlier this year.
Falcons took the game to their hosts and were the more aggressive side in the opening minutes of an otherwise entertaining match, where no quarter was asked or given.
Fullback Howard Titus had the first chance of putting Falcons ahead after referee Harry Diergaardt penalized the hosts in the 10th minute. Titus’ long range attempt from the resultant penalty lacked power and direction and the oval ball landed harmlessly into the waiting hands of the Rehoboth rearguard.
Flyhalf Melrick Africa put Falcons ahead with an opportunistic try that was duly converted by Titus to give the visitors a 7-point lead.
Urged on by a partisan crowd, Rehoboth Rugby Club started a move from the back that resulted in a copybook try by former Friends’ striker Desmond Snyders, to send the crowd into raptures.
Winger Garth Loock missed the conversion but the lanky winger made amends minutes later when he goaled a penalty to give Rehoboth a slender 8 – 7 lead.
Falcons regained the lead with a questionable try by centre Cliffy Loubser, and Titus returned the compliment from the conversion before adding another three points to his tally with a well-taken penalty to make the scoreboard read 17 – 8 in favour of Falcons.
Winger Graham van Wyk reduced the deficit with a try and Loock’s educated white boot did the trick from the conversion, before Titus brought the teams level with a well-measured penalty kick. The teams went into the break level on 20 points each.
Rehoboth started the second half like a house on fire and were soon rewarded after enterprising flyhalf Snyders went on a solo run to skid into the far corner and Loock made no mistake from the conversion.
Falcons were soon on level terms again following a try by Africa, his second of the match that was duly converted by Titus.
Winger Deon Mouton put Falcons ahead with another try before centre Luwayne Kotzee added to the tally following a well orchestrated move by Titus, who zigzagged his way past a cluster of defenders before offloading to Kotzee, who in turn powered his way over the line.
Falcons put the result beyond their opponents’ reach with further tries by Kotzee, Loubser and Africa with Titus proving deadly from dead-ball situations, while bulky lock Jochacim Platts also got his name on the score sheet with a rare conversion.
Late tries by Rehoboth’s prop Marshall Mouton, winger Graham van Wyk and scrumhalf Elrich Jansen and a conversion by centre Serge Loock reduced the deficit, but Falcons had already built an insurmountable lead and were comfortable in sitting back absorbing the late onslaught until the final whistle. Final score: Falcons 58 – 49 Rehoboth Rugby Club.
Titus contributed a lion’s share of Falcons’ points whilst his counterpart Loock was not to be outdone either. The victory kept Falcons firmly in the driving seat of the MTC Premier League and with a handful of matches left, before the curtain comes down on league activities, Falcons look poised to retain the trophy they won last season.
In the curtain raiser, Falcons’ second strings snatched a late victory from the jaws of defeat against their Rehoboth counterparts. Falcons won by 17 points to 16 in a nail-biting match that saw Rehoboth leading into the dying minutes of the match. Falcons led by 10 points to 3 before the turn.
Falcons scored three tries through winger Charl Olivier, veteran inside centre Ronaldo Pedro and fullback Antony Brand. Scrumhalf Elroy “Wange” Diergaardt missed the first two conversions – leaving the shooting duties for Pedro who goaled the final conversion.
Fullback Richard Thierauch scored Rehoboth’s only try which was converted by Keather Freygang who also added a penalty. Centre Morne Lucas succeeded with two penalties.