Hammies’ pre-season off to good start

Hamilton’s Sauleigh Arendse works his way past the defence during his side’s pre-season friendly match against Hamlets in Mamre, at the weekend.

Hamilton SP RFC travelled to the West Coast to play some pre-season friendly matches against Hamlets RFC in Mamre on Saturday. And, despite the long layoff, as a result of the lockdown, the first team showed little signs of rustiness.

In fact, they were clinical in their performance, beating the hosts 50-10. JP Lewis, Earl Lewis and Muji van der Hoven scored two tries each, while Wynand Maclachlan, Wilton Pieterson and Chadwin Robertson contributed one each. Earl Lewis also contributed three conversions, with Hein Steenkamp converting two tries.

In other results, the second team went down 12-5 while the third and under-20 sides recorded 33-12 and 33-7 victories respectively.

The club’s media officer Ros Silke said it was a great day out with some important lessons being learnt. “But, most importantly, it was great to be back on the field.”

This week the side travel to Brackenfell RFC, on Friday night, for more friendly matches.

Silke said they have kicked off the year with much hope and anticipation and, as soon as they got the go-ahead, they started their eight-week training programme, under strict Covid-19 protocols.

“We made good use of the lockdown downtime to do some maintenance around the club. We resurfaced our A field, refurbished our change rooms and are in the process of painting the clubhouse,” she said.

“The seniors and under-20s are practising twice weekly, on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, at 6.30pm. The players are hungry for some rugby and finally we are at a place where we can play some friendly matches,” she said.

She said the club also welcomed some of their old players back at the club, in various coaching roles.

“Greg van Jaarsveld, Jody Burch, Pierre Cronje and Conrad Mageira have all taken up coaching positions at the club. Great to have them back. Our head coach is Phil Cronje and his two assistant coaches for the first team are Greg van Jaarsveld (forwards) and Robert Oliver (backs). Our second team coaches are Conrad Magiera and Pierre Cronje,” she said.

Neville Bekker returns as their under-20 head coach with assistance from Jody Burch.

Another match to look forward to, she said, is the historical Hammies vs Villagers Derby Day, which takes place at Villagers’ home ground, the Brookside in Claremont, on Saturday May 29.