MARIETTE ADAMS looks at the Eastern Cape rivalry between Dale College and Queen’s College.
HISTORY OF THE DERBY
Like most rivalries, there is not much love lost between Dale College and Queen’s College. The schools started facing each other twice a year in 1926 and after 91 seasons of battle, both sides have 79 wins, with 17 draws.
LAST YEAR’S DERBIES
Queen’s College were on the wrong end of both derbies in 2016, losing 17-3 and 32-30 against a Dale outfit that emerged as the Eastern Cape’s No 1 side that year. The first game, in King William’s Town, was dominated by Queen’s, but the visitors’ inability to convert pressure into points proved costly. Both sides kicked a penalty, but Dale were required to put in a defensive masterclass to keep Queen’s from adding to their tally. And when Queen’s made two handling errors, the hosts pounced on both occasions to dot down at the other end. The second game was an evenly poised contest played in better conditions. Both sides refused to surrender the ascendancy and were locked at 25-25 midway through the second half. And the game continued in the same vein, as first Dale and then Queen’s scored late in the match. But the difference was that Dale flyhalf Siphosethu Dlongodlongo nailed his conversion attempt, while his opposite number, Christopher Hollis, missed his, which denied Queen’s what would have been a deserved draw.
FAMOUS OLD BOYS WHO PLAYED IN THE DERBY
CARLO DEL FAVA (QUEEN’S)
‘Unfortunately, I was not lucky enough to experience a derby win as a 1st XV player in 1999, but to their credit, Dale fielded one of their strongest teams that year. Being part of Queen’s biggest game of the season was a personal milestone for me. Getting the chance to run out in front of your team as captain with the mascot against Dale was one of my proudest moments. My favourite memory of derby day was the build-up. The old boys always make an effort to come down and support the teams and that is a big motivation for the players. I remember all the teams would get together on the Friday night before the game and some old boys would also attend. We’d discuss tactics and go through the strategies of every team that was scheduled to play against Dale on the Saturday. In the end, it’s those traditions that stick with you and not the results.’
KAUNDA NTUNJA (DALE)
‘I joined Dale in 1992 and matriculated in 2000, and every single year I had the opportunity to play against Queen’s, home and away. Derby day is really important. If you can win home and away, the team instantly has legendary status. The reunion in Queenstown was always very special to me because I enjoyed winning on their turf much more. In 1999, when we were well ahead in the second half, I took a glimpse at the crowd and saw all their old boys leaving the stands to go drown their sorrows in the beer tent. That was my greatest moment in a Dale shirt. I thought to myself, “We’ve done what we set out to do. We ruined Queen’s reunion day before the final whistle.” That was something I’ll always hold dear.’
BANDISE MAKU (DALE)
‘My first derby was actually the 150th game between the two schools. I was the Dale captain that day and scored a try. It was a privilege to etch my name in the annals of Dale rugby history. The victory that day was extra special because it was against the guys we’ve faced from U9 and we had the final say. The week leading up to the game was no different to a Bulls vs Stormers clash. It was my first experience of what a big game meant to the school, old boys and community. The war cries in the school passages become louder that week and there are endless singalong songs that ring out in classrooms. Those are the moments every Dalian will remember.’
THREE CLASSIC ENCOUNTERS
1992: DALE 0 QUEEN’S 3
Queen’s had the uphill task of going to King William’s Town to face Dale, who had put together a seven-match winning streak in this fixture between 1989 and 1992. Former Springbok prop Robbie Kempson played for Queen’s that day, while current Dale coach Grant Griffith was at centre for the hosts. After putting points on the board first, Queen’s set out to defend their slender lead against the highly-rated Dale attack. But just as it looked as though they would come away with a win, Dale received a late penalty and lined up a shot at goal to force a draw. Fortunately for Kempson and co, the attempt was off target and Queen’s resilient defence reaped the rewards as they clinched a rare win.
2014: DALE 13 QUEEN’S 12
In a see-saw battle at the ‘Graveyard’, both sides played their part to produce an enthralling clash in front of Dale’s 1st XV from 1964, who returned to the school for their 50th reunion. It was a closely fought contest with no team managing to take complete control. Dale were leading in the last minute and had Queen’s defending on their own tryline. The hosts lost possession and Queen’s swept downfield to score at the other end, to the dismay of the home crowd. But referee Jonathan Kaplan controversially disallowed the try, adjudging the final pass to be forward. Dale secured the ball at the subsequent scrum and kicked the ball high into the stands.
2014: QUEEN’S 35 DALE 33
The return fixture in 2014 was a humdinger, but played in totally different fashion. This was an open, all-out attacking display. Dale took the partisan crowd out of the equation as they raced into a handy 18-8 lead, courtesy of three tries and a penalty. But they were made to rue the three missed conversions by flyhalf Justerino Davids. Queen’s fought back with four unanswered tries to take a 30-21 lead, setting up a grandstand finish. But Dale were by no means out of it. They ran in two late tries, despite conceding one in between, which afforded them a chance to snatch a draw with the last kick of the match. But Davids again failed to land the conversion and Queen’s completed a memorable comeback to end the season on a high.
PAST 10 RESULTS
2012: Dale 21 Queen’s 18
2013: Queen’s 6 Dale 0
2013: Dale 15 Queen’s 23
2014: Dale 13 Queen’s 12
2014: Queen’s 35 Dale 33
2015: Queen’s 19 Dale 29
2015: Dale 15 Queen’s 14
2016: Dale 17 Queen’s 3
2016: Queen’s 30 Dale 32
2017: Queen’s 25 Dale 24
NUMBERS THAT MATTER
79 – Derby matches won by both Dale and Queen’s
17 – The number of draws
1,816 – Total number of points scored by Dale
1,729 – Total number of points scored by Queen’s
IN NEXT MONTH’S MAG: Affies vs Waterkloof