It took them 21 years but on Saturday, SCC managed to end the misery in front of a thousand spectators at the Queenstown Stadium, as they clinched this year’s Premiership crown in devastating fashion.
SCC were dominant from the opening whistle, and within 15mins were 6 points up from the boot of National 7s captain Marah Ishraff. Both penalities came off immense pressure from the men in Gold and Black, which Wanderers seemingly did not have the answer for. Wanderers had few opportunities in the opposition half, and found themselves often scrambling in defence, with last ditch tackles from that of Winger Jonathan Wong and Full back Mike Patterson. SCC’s Wingers Richard Cooke and Mattias Chia threatened at every opportunity, and it was that pressure that led to Wanderers conceding a scrum off a great kick chase. The resulting scrum saw quick ball being used to lethal effect as the SCC scored and led 16 – 0 as the clock ticked away towards the break. Another wave of attack forced another scrum and the SCC pack once again laid the platform for James Tiaks to score in the corner as SCC went into the break with an unimaginable 21 – 0 lead.
Despite conceding an early penalty in the second half which brought the score to 24-0, the Wanderers began to put pressure on SCC in the 2nd half, managing to get some possession in SCC’s half. Building momentum, the Wanderers pounded the SCC defensive line, probing for holes. Despite being unable to convert their pressure into points, their efforts did pay dividends when SCC’s Declan Martens was shown the yellow card. A sustained period of Wanderers attack followed, but was unable to break down a tireless SCC defence that kept on rushing up to keep them behind the game line and repeatedly forced errors.
Against the run of play, SCC managed to break out of their own half, kicking through once again and forcing a wild chase for the loose ball which landed just short of the Wanderers try line. It was ruled as a knock on. However, SCC’s strong scrum once again proved to make a difference as they won the ball back, driving over the whitewash for another try for the evergreen Simon Etheredge. An easy conversion brought the score to a seemingly insurmountable 31-0.
The Wanderers refused to go out without landing a few blows of their own though, and put together some great rugby to bring the game to SCC. They ran from everywhere and their fitness showed as they scored 12 points in the last 20mins of the game. Leading league try scorer Matthew Humphreys tried to spur on his team with some dynamic runs in the loose, but tt was unfortunately too little too late as the SCC held on to the final whistle where it ended, giving the boys from the Padang their first title in 21 years.
It was fitting that SRU President Terrence Khoo, who was part of the SCC team in 1997, presented the cup to SCC Captain Michael Oliver.
With that, the 2018 SRU Men’s Premiership has come to a close, and what a ride it has been. The league has delivered an exhilarating 4 months of heart-in-your-mouth rugby, and this final certainly didn’t disappoint. SCC showed up when it mattered, and have most definitely earned the title of Premiership champions.
Photo Credit: Lawrence Photography