The second day of the VAL Aloe Cup was played in perfect cricket weather. As anticipated the action on the field was also a lot closer than on the first day and none of the games had to be ended early as the winning scores were kept under 50 points in all the games.
The first match provided the most comprehensive win with Handhaaf beating Volkskool 44-0, thereby qualifying to play for 3rd place on Saturday. The Handhaaf team has a big pack and used it to subdue the Volkskool challenge.
The second match was, based on the results of the first day, the one which most people had expected to end early. Gene Louw had been clinical in their two matches, whereas Glenwood had struggled. But the game proved to be a surprisingly competitive affair with the Glenwood boys competing for every ball and putting pressure on the Gene Louw attack with spirited defence. As on the first day the Gene Louw 3, 5 and 8 proved the difference up front and Gene Louw beat Glenwood 38-15 to book their place in the final.
The third match between the evenly matched sides of Jeffreys Bay and Knysna was the most competitive of the week so far. JBay took a slender 5-0 lead into the break, the lead changed hands early in the second half with a 7 pointer for Knysna and from there on it was nail-biting stuff as the teams failed to finish the scoring opportunities presented to them. It was late in the second half when a try and penalty allowed the JBay team to sneak a 13-7 win over Knysna.
The final match was the one all neutral spectators had been waiting for as the winner between Grey and Durbanville would play against Gene Louw on Saturday to determine the 2017 VAL Aloe Cup champions. Both teams had won their matches on the first day with ease. The match was tight in the first half with both ddefencesputting enough pressure on the other side to force mistakes and turnovers. The Durbanville 8 was a thorn in the side of a Grey team which struggled to get the quick ball that allows them to play the flowing rugby all Grey sides are known for. The close nature of the first half was reflected in a 8-0 halftime lead for Grey.
The second half was an entertaining affair. The Grey side found the going a bit easier and the fluid combination of forwards and backs running into space proved too much for a Durbanville side that never gave up. Even though the final score of 35-0 seems slightly one-sided that was never the feeling one got during the match and the both sides should be applauded for entertaining the crowd with a great rugby display.
The final match on Saturday is a rematch of the 2016 final, and Gene Louw will relish the opportunity to reverse that loss to Grey.
Handhaaf 44-0 Volkskool
Gene Louw 38-15 Glenwood
Jeffreys Bay 13-7 Knysna
Grey 35-0 Durbanville