Northwood Rugby Turns up the Heat

The past 6 days have proved very challenging for the Northwood 1st team squad.  Wednesday last week saw them take on Scottish League champions Ayr United in a very cold and wet encounter under lights at Northwood. Northwood fielded a team made up of predominantly 2nd team players, complimented by a few 1st team players. Although the weather seemed made to order for the Scottish side, Northwood shifted gears when it mattered and scored a hard fought 15-8 victory.

On Saturday, the old ties between Jeppe Boys and Northwood were restored when all the Rugby, Hockey and chess teams played each other at Jeppe Boys, one of the oldest government schools in Johannesburg.  The 1st team game showed the passion of both schools and the outcome was always in the balance.  The 1st half belonged to Jeppe, with their speedy wings proving a handful for Northwood. With Jeppe appearing dominant, blood bin replacement Phiko Sobahle scored from a good set piece movement near the Jeppe try line.  The conversion by Sasassa Makhanye had the score line at 20-10 to Jeppe at the break.

The second half saw Northwood sticking to their strengths and turning in a powerful display of forward play.  While Jeppe had set the pace with their backs in the first half, Northwood dominated with their forwards in the second half.  After conceding a soft try to Jeppe, lock TC Edmunds powered his way over for what was a certain try, but the ref was unsighted and declared the ball “held up”.  Not to be denied, he drove over minutes later and was awarded the try.  The conversion by Makhanye closed the gap to 25-17. With 6 minutes to go, the ultra-consistent Trevor Nkwamba burst through a ruck to score untouched under the posts, while Makhanye ensured the score line reflected a 1 point difference.

Minutes later, despite some great defence by Northwood, Jeppe managed to score a try to take the score to 30-24.  A penalty just before full time gave Jeppe the victory by 33-24 in what was an epic clash.

Monday saw Northwood taking on St Benedict’s (JHB) in a tough encounter at home, the 3rd game in 6 days.  With a number of key players injured or being rested, this was always going to be tough. Both sides traded penalties in the 1st half, with St Benedict’s leading 6-3 at half time.  The 2nd half proved just as tough, with Bennies right wing getting away to score an unconverted try.

However, the Northwood forwards stepped up again and powerful tries by Trevor Nkwamba (hooker) and Ngoni Chidoma (prop) and a conversion by Makhanye saw Northwood winning the game 15-11 and achieving the first victory by a KZN side over a JHB side this season.

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