It has been a tense few weeks for the folks at the Phillip Herbstein Fields in Constantia as False Bay, current Super League A (SLA) champions, suffered a number of defeats.
First it was UCT who broke the hearts of the Constantia faithful in a close victory immediately after their Varsity Cup campaign. Then the Bay succumbed to Maties in Stellenbosch, the pressure building and the spectre of a third loss in a row loomed, soon to become reality as False Bay spluttered against Hamilton.
Next up on Saturday was Kuils River, a desolate hunting ground for many a team, the newly-promoted club all too eager to remind club rugby followers that their visit to the SLB was uncharacteristic and that the top flight was their home.
With a campaign which includes Tygerberg, a resurgent Villager and UWC in consecutive weeks as their forthcoming fixtures, the Bay knew that a loss against the “Kuile” would have banished False Bay to the ranks of teams fighting for survival, last seen more than a decade ago.
Fortunately, Saturday saw a display of return to form and False Bay won 53-10 after leading 23-10 at the break.
The Bay bagged six tries on the day, two by wing Ryno Mapoe, half backs Niyaaz Johnson and Ewan Adams and second-row powerhouse, Busanda Mabena. Adams converted all five. Kuiler’s points came from a try by centre Mario Wilson, goaled by fullback John-Lee Klazen, who converted a penalty too.
Off the field
The fund-raising arm of the club, 100Club, aimed at involving those beyond donning the boots, had another successful gathering.
Raconteur, front row guru and current scrum adviser to the Stormers, Andrew “Tank” Lanning chaired a Q&A session with the world’s number one, Steven Kitshoff and his front-row partner, Neethling Fouche.
Lanning threaded proceedings seamlessly and the two props, who host an ultra-popular “Volg”, enthralled with insight and humour which had even the most cerebral of backline players gushing.
At that meeting club president, Dr Gareth Jones proudly presented the Springbok jersey awarded to False Bay stalwart, Matthew Napoleon, kindly donated to the club by his proud family. The iconic Napoleon was an icon of the game in the Western Province and his position among so many legends of the non-racial unions is vastly understated and indeed unknown.
In a week that encompassed the quest for survival on the pitch, a quirky exposure to the characters who carry our Provincial hopes and pride, and the honouring of past legends whose value if often dimmed by human recollection, we need to remember and honour those who have gone before and the likes of “Nappie” serve this purpose among so many other acknowledgement roles.
False Bay also bade farewell to one of its iconic characters. Dave “DiV” Alexander passed away tragically during the week. Alexander was a natural sportsman, a gifted batsman for Bergvliet CC, an accomplished fly-half for False Bay and a fisherman most species trembled when they became aware that he was at the helm of the boat on the horizon. Yet, despite these mantles, Alexander is lovingly remembered by those who knew him for gifts more natural, his warmth, kindness and zest for life.
- Jon Harris is a member of False Bay RFC.