Centre Nicolus van Eeden scored a brace as Oakdale thrashed Marlow 50-12 in Saturday’s Classic Clash in Riversdale. MARIETTE ADAMS reports.
The hosts, ranked 10th in the country, were just too good for a Marlow side boasting 12 Craven Week players, scoring eight tries to two.
Marlow dominated possession, but the inefficiency of their forwards stalled any attacking opportunities they had, while the wayward kicking of flyhalf Vaughen Isaacs also contributed to the side’s inability to stay with Oakdale on the scoreboard during the initial stages.
By contrast, Oakdale were incisive on attack and defence, despite trailing in the possession stakes, with the interplay between their backs and forwards flummoxing Marlow’s defence.
Two early unconverted tries by Van Eeden and flank Stiaan Wasserman gave Oakdale a 10-point lead. But Marlow pulled five back when Lourens Oosthuizen showed his speed to score. The flanker was put into space down the left wing and dismissively handed off two tacklers to touch down.
The conversion went awry and from there Oakdale started to stamp their authority on the match.
Van Eeden grabbed his second try in fortuitous fashion from counter-attacking play. With Marlow pressing inside the opposition’s 22, the ball was turned over and inside centre JC Nel ran the ball out of the danger zone before hacking it forward. Van Eeden chased his midfield partner’s long kick and when Marlow’s cover defender failed to control the ball in the in-goal area, Van Eeden pounced.
Scrumhalf Zinedene Booysen converted the try before crashing over just before the break for a commanding 24-5 lead.
Oakdale flyhalf Xavier Swartbooi marshalled their attack well in the first period and continued his strong performance after the interval. He threw a miracle behind-the-back flick pass to lock Daniel Victor, who powered over for the Oaks’ fifth try.
Marlow continued to dominate possession, but couldn’t breach Oakdale’s defensive wall and following yet another knock-on close to the tryline, Oakdale launched a lethal counter-attack. Swartbooi broke out from the 22 and after a series of offloads, finished with a try under the sticks despite the Marlow players protesting at the sight of a clear forward pass in the lead-up to the score.
The visitors conceded two more tries late in the match, scored by Nel and prop André Posthumous, but there was some respite in-between when big centre Nelus van Wyk finally found a gap in the Oakdale defence to take Marlow’s score into double digits.
Oakdale – Tries: Nicolus van Eeden (2), Stiaan Wasserman, Zinedine Booysen, Daniel Victor, Xavier Swartbooi, JC Nel, André Posthumous. Conversions: Booysen (5).
Marlow – Tries: Lourens Oosthuizen, Nelus van Wyk. Conversion: Vaughen Isaacs.