Vereeniging deny United in Valke Peregrine League final

East Rand United fly half Andy Huysamen (pictured) was a kingpin in his side’s performance of the their Peregrine League final against Vereeniging in Kempton Park.

Had United won, they would’ve beaten the league’s two best teams in Brakpan and Vereeniging in two consecutive weeks. However, it wasn’t to be.

With less than 10 minutes to go until the final whistle during the final, United fly half and kicker Andy Huysamen appeared to have all but won the game for his side after slotting his fourth penalty – a result of captain Fanie van Staden being taken in the air.

That gave the Reiger Park outfit a healthy 24-16 lead, meaning Vereeniging needed a converted try and extras to win.

Vereeniging, however, showed their big match temperament when they almost immediately hit back with a converted try just before a dagger of a penalty – that took the score to 26-24 – pierced United’s hearts.

The half-time score, interestingly, was also a two-point margin, at 13-11 in Vereeniging’s favour.

Vereeniging seem to have a knack for squeaking past United. They also defeated Stephan Nel’s men 44-38 in Reiger Park last month after United led 26-22 at half-time.

“I wasn’t very happy with the performance up until the last 15 minutes of the game when our game plan started coming together,” said Vereeniging coach, Stefan Jacobs.

“At the end of the day, when you’re playing in a final, the one who takes his or her chances wins the game.”

Quizzed on the difference between winning and losing the match, the mentor replied: “Luck,” he chuckled. “We had our opportunities but luck was the difference.”

United’s captain Fanie van Staden, whose landing after he was taken in the air almost marred the spectacle, commented: “It was a very physical battle between two proud teams. It was very hard because no one wanted to make it easy for anyone,” he said of the match.

The skipper pointed to a loss in concentration as cause for the agonising loss.

“We knew it was going to be an 80-minute game. We didn’t stay calm in the last 10 minutes of the game and got punished.”

United’s tries were again a demonstration of counter-attack rugby at its best. The first one was started by wing star Cameron Lentoor from a quick line-out in the first-half before the ball was worked through the hands for scrumhalf Tiaan Ramat to finish in the corner.

They then took full advantage of centre Waylon Thompson’s intercept in the second-half. The tall midfielder slickly avoided the first tackle following the intercept before producing a basketball-hoop pass to Ramat, who completed his brace.

United scorers: Tries: Tiaan Ramat (2). Conversions: Andy Huysamen (1). Penalties: Andy Huysamen (4) – @SabeloBoksburg

Sabelo Mashego
Sports Journalist

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