Surviving their maiden Super League B season will depend on the results of All Saints’ last two fixtures against Bellville and Hands & Heart.
Saints, currently in 12th position on the overall log, could have secured a more comfortable position, but suffered a 29-26 defeat at the hands of Hamlets in their last home match of the season at Helderzicht Sports Grounds on Saturday.
Both Saints’ remaining matches will be tough encounters with Hands & Heart fighting to avoid relegation, and Bellville having their sights set on a top-six finish which, with the new format, could see them win the Super League B title.
Despite out-scoring Hamlets on Saturday, the home side failed to take points on offer with the visitors’ converting five penalties to hand them an all-important away win against a very formidable All Saints outfit. The men from Somerset have been through a rather tumultuous first season in SLB, which saw coach Jeremy Jansen and the club part ways midway through the league.
The players had to adjust to a new coach, Raymond Fredericks, and a new way of operation, which, in most cases, translates into chaos. But apart from the initial teething issues, it would seem the players and coaches have found some sort of rhythm.
This, however, could prove to be too little, too late with two tough opponents lying in wait, both with their opposite goals in terms of the final log outcome.
On Saturday, Winslou de Lange scored twice while Hensler Louw and Carlton-Lee Heeger also got onto the scoring sheet. Dylan Scholtz managed to convert three of the four All Saints’ tries.
The decision-making in crucial moments of the match left a lot to be desired, given that Saints were within Scholtz’s kicking range but went for the line-out option instead. The penalty would not only have put the home side within seven points of Hamlets, but they would have received the ball from the restart.
Saints dominated the set-pieces, which is probably the reasoning behind going for touch instead of taking the points on offer. At some point, the scores were tied at 26-26 and had those two penalties been converted, the home side would have been beaming with confidence going into the final minutes of the match.
Saints would have taken a lot from their first season in SLB, but a lot is still left in the Somerset West charges, who will no doubt be giving it their all to remain in SLB.
However, not using their opportunities as they should have on Saturday could prove to be costly as they head into what has now become their most important two matches of their season.
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