Michaelhouse Winter Sport Weekend Roundup results
Hundreds of Old Boys from as far back as the Class of 1947 gathered on the side of the Punchbowl Astro and on the banks of Meadows to cheer their old school on as Michaelhouse took on traditional rivals, Kearsney College on the weekend. The conditions are worth commentary too: There are few places better for the soul than the Midlands in early May, and the rich early-Autumn colours certainly conspired with the occasion to leave a lasting impression.
House’s first hockey XI couldn’t bank on the confidence of a strong away win in 2021 to turn their form around after coming home from strong showings at Easter festivals, going down 1-2. Only the home fourth side gave the Old Boys anything to cheer about in the open age group, triumphing 4-2. The Michaelhouse U16 age group though were in a combative mood across sporting codes on Saturday with the A side cracking on with a ruthless 8-0 demolition job. The B side boys also posted a good win while the Cs went down fighting 0-2, and the Ds settled for a thrilling 3-3 draw. The hosts were also strong in the U14 category winning 1-0 and 3-0 in the A and B games respectively; the Cs and Ds losing by a goal each.
Down the avenue on the rugby pitch, House’s U14A lads continued their hunt for form going down 19-42 to a well-oiled machine with big, strong, elusively hard-running three quarters. The B and C sides on the other hand continued sweeping all opposition aside, winning 50-0 and 54-0 in truncated contests. In the age group up, Michaelhouse were on the front foot all day; the B team boys winning 56-5 while the C team continued their unbeaten run, cantering in 47-12 winners. House’s U15A boys put their 7-12 away loss in U14 well behind them, coasting in for their 27-7 victory.
Michaelhouse’s U16 lads were almost as untouchable. While the D team went down, the C, B, and A sides all brought their Kearsney College counterparts’ unbeaten runs to a crashing halt. House’s C team ground out a hard won 12-5 victory, while the B side stretched their own unbeaten run in 2022 with a nail biting win off the tee with the 14-10 scoreline going in their favour. Kearsney may have been reasonably confident going into the clash with 9 wins in 9 starts this year. Just a penalty separated the two sides back in U15; but Coach Ryan Strudwick’s boys had no intention of not dishing up a humdinger for their Old Boys, charging home to a comprehensive 37-19 win.
The home sides’ good form extended into the open age group, winning the fourth and fifth XV encounters comfortably before the thirds stumbled over their own potential for a second week, going down 21-36. House’s seconds stretched their unbeaten regular opposition season with the narrowest 20-18 win. There was an electric buzz about Meadows in the buildup to the 3.30 first XV kickoff. There couldn’t have been a more marked difference between the two sides’ arrival on the arena in front of a crowd numbering in the 1000s: Kearsney’s measured walk down the tunnel, followed by the lads in the broad red and white stripes thundering and roaring onto the park. A minute and forty seconds later giant No8 Wandile Mlaba was smashing over the whitewash for the host’s first converted try.
The visitors defied the cumulative pressure of the occasion and Michaelhouse’s overwhelming dominance in the possession and territory stakes to somehow keep the opposition at bay and strike back with two penalties before centre Campbell Ridl scored House’s second try, converted by fullback Aya Zakwe late in the second half. The rout which at times felt imminent, never materialized, and Michaelhouse extended the 17-6 midway difference with their second long range try through the mercurial left winger, Kevin Smith late in the contest to seal the 22-9 win, their 43rd in 77 starts.