On Saturday the 21st April the Northwood 1st XV Knights travelled to Pietermaritzburg for the long anticipated clash with St. Charles College. Last season saw St. Charles winning the clash 45-25. This season Northwood were resolved to give a better performance and earn some respect and gain some momentum to their season after a tough battle against DHS the previous weekend.
The match started at a frenetic pace and the intensity and determination that both teams showed from the start was a real spectacle. The first points came from St. Charles in the 6th minute when they set up a backline move from a scrum, with the full back breaking the line to score. Conversion missed. 5-0 to St. Charles.
Northwood were next on the scoreboard with what could turn out to be the try of the season. A quick turnover from a St. Charles attack resulted in Northwood scrum half Cameron Miller launching a massive kick 40 metres up field with right winger Macmillan Mudara on the chase and taking a clean catch to bolt away and score under the poles for a sensational 55m try. This was duly converted by scrumhalf Cameron Miller which brought the score line to 7-5 in Northwood’s favour.
This try gave Northwood a lot of energy and soon they were on the scoreboard again with a turnover in the midfield by outside centre Tyren Kroos, the backs moved the ball wide and created space for winger Mac Mudara who crossed over for his second try of the match, Cameron Miller slotting the difficult conversion from the touchline to take the score to 14-5. It wasn’t long before Northwood were over the chalk again with another wide attack which came from a scrum. The Northwood backs moving the ball slickly through the hands to right winger Mudara who drew two scramble defenders and gave a great inside pass to fullback Nipho Ndlela who finished just right of the poles for Northwood’s 3rd try. Cameron Miller unsuccessful with the conversion took the score to 19-5 at the half time break.
Northwood on a bit of a winning streak just before half time, had the lion’s share of possession and through sustained pressure and multiple phases, worked their way to the St. Charles line. After a few attempts at the line and through a number of penalties conceded by St. Charles for going off their feet and not releasing, Northwood eventually scored through big outside centre Tyren Kroos who barged his way over from close range under the poles with a clean conversion from Miller to take the score to 26-5. St. Charles, never a team to lay down, fought back through their fly half who chipped and gathered in the Northwood in goal and dotted down under a barrage of bodies to score a fine solo try converted by the scorer to take the score to 26-12. This passage of play seemed to give St. Charles a second wind, and with ball in hand looked very dangerous. They managed to score another well worked try through their big and fast right wing who collected an inside pass on the right touchline to score under the poles, the successful conversion took the score to 26-19. Northwood replied with some impressive attacking play and were very unfortunate to concede a try when Northwood fullback Nipho Ndlela tried to kick the ball behind the St. Charles rush defence, only for the St. Charles fullback to gather it on the full and race away for a solo try against the run of play. St. Charles missing the conversion, brought the score to 26-24. Northwood, hurting from the poor execution, responded almost immediately with a well worked series of pick and goes close the St. Charles line, eventually crossing through replacement flanker, Willa Chininga. Miller missing the conversion, the score line stood 31-24 in Northwood’s favour at the final whistle. This fixture was a great spectacle of school boy rugby and was played in a fine spirit by both teams. Northwood can be proud of this victory against a tough opponent. We wish St. Charles well for the remainder of their season and thank them for the match and hospitality.
This Thursday night, the Northwood Knights host traditional rivals Maritzburg College under floodlights on Reece-Edwards 1 for what should be another massive battle. Kick-off is scheduled for 18h30. We look forward to the Durban North community coming out to support us in full force.
Report by: Mr T. Sorensen
1st XV Head Coach