Clash of titans: Graeme v Dale
Graeme College will renew acquaintances with an old rival when they clash with Dale in the feature match of the Pam Golding Properties Graeme Rugby Day in 2019.
The 21st edition of the event on March 16 will again feature the cream of the Eastern Cape’s rugby teams in a tournament which has become a must-play in the programme of most schools in the region.
The Graeme organisers focus largely on regional entries, but they like to spice it up every now and then and 2019 sees the inclusion of Cape Town school SACS.
They will come up against St Andrew’s in the third last game of the day and it should provide a rousing entrée to the final two fixtures – Kingswood vs Pearson and Graeme vs Dale.
The main game is a repeat of the fixture in the 2015 tournament when Dale won 27-0 and the Graemians will be expecting another tough challenge from the King William’s Town side.
To their credit, the host school do not use this annual occasion to give themselves an easy game. Since the Dale encounter, they have played Marlow Agricultural, Selborne and Grey High.
Although they have been on the receiving end each time, Graeme often punch above their weight and they are sure to provide a fascinating finale to the day’s play in March.
Both Selborne and Grey, perennial powerhouses in Eastern Cape rugby, will be in action.
The East London team take on the competitive Marlow unit, while Grey will be up against another Border outfit in Hudson Park.
These two teams do not have a regular annual fixture and last faced each other in Port Elizabeth in 2016. Although losing 38-19, Hudson are not a side to be taken lightly and it will be an excellent test for the Bay school.
Kingswood and Pearson will square off in the main curtain-raiser, a repeat of the fixture in the 2017 tournament, which the Grahamstown school narrowly won 12-7.
Two Grahamstown schools – PJ Olivier and Nathaniel Nyaluza – will kick off the proceedings at 8am, while Port Alfred High will have a rare chance to show what they can do against an established side when they meet Muir in the day’s second match.
Muir had to endure a mediocre run of results in 2018, but their long rugby tradition means they will be motivated to restore a proud heritage in the sport.
That should be followed by an expected thunderous encounter between Queen’s and Framesby. This is a repeat fixture of the 2017 tournament, but you can hardly imagine the score being similar to that 6-3 win for Framesby.