An unbeaten season is the envy of every coach on the local high schools rugby season. Everyone starts the season with winning every match in mind, but that vision quickly fades for a lot of coaches as the Dairibord Schools Rugby festival gets underway.
There are always a few common contenders for unbeaten seasons every year; as each week that passes during the winter, however, few remain standing. Some stand strong until the last game of the season which is always a difficult one because of the unbeaten tag.
Do you remember the St George’s Dragons of 2012 who were unbeaten all season in the Stanbic Super 8? Their clean season was spoiled by Peterhouse in a friendly that was played after the schools had shut for second term.
The Churchill Bulldogs had an unbeaten run last year. However, the sweetness of their perfect run was taken away by the fact that they didn’t have some key traditional fixtures on their calendar. We can discuss the reasons for this in another post.
Falcon College enjoyed really good runs of victory in 2015 and 2016 only to be denied an unbeaten season by Peterhouse in both cases. It might seem as if Peterhouse are only there to detract others’ perfect seasons, but they had their own perfect run stopped by St George’s in 2013 on Weaver.
Prince Edward has had competitive sides over the last five years. However, that first season fixture against Falcon has always taken them out of the running for a perfect season. This year is proving to be very different for the Tigers; they have opened the season with an away 24-14 win against Falcon.
If you’re a staunch Tigers fan you could be scoffing at my proclamation that this could be the year of the Tigers simply because they have won in Esigodini. Let me engage you for a moment and illustrate why last Saturday’s win in Esigodini is a big deal.
The platform that you’re reading this on right now, School Sports Network, was founded in May of 2012. Over the past five years, SSN has had some sort of coverage of the annual Prince Edward – Falcon clash. In that first year of SSN’s existence, Prince Edward lost 23-15 to Falcon on Jubilee. The following year was probably the most successful before last Saturday as they drew 28 all in Esigodini.
Back again in the capital, 2014 saw the Falcon jinx continue for the Tigers losing 21-19 at home. Things got worse in 2015 as Prince Edward were hammered 43-19 at Falcon. The Tigers faithful were hoping for a turn of fortune last year, but the Maddogs came to Harare and went back with a 22-12 victory. In essence, SSN had never witnessed or published a Prince Edward victory over Falcon since inception. Before last Saturday, everyone playing on the current Tigers side had never known how it feels to celebrate a win against Falcon XV even from the bleachers as little Form Ones in 2012.
Now that you are with me as to how big a deal the Falcon win was for the Tigers, let’s look at the potential threats to a perfect season for the Tigers. They have already gone over the Churchill and Peterhouse hurdles and they should be able to withstand another Bulldogs’ assault on Jubilee. It won’t be an easy one, but very doable given the quality of this year’s Tigers’ side.
St George’s College and St John’s College had a good showing at the Dairibord Festival and are also still in contention to register a perfect season. These two Harare sides have the potential to dismantle the Tiger’s dream. If they can escape these two games unscathed, it should be somewhat easy sailing for the Tigers from then on.
Can the Tigers enjoy a perfect run this winter? We think they have a very good shot, in fact their best in years, but let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.