Despite a win, Wits bows out of the basketball season

Wits Bucks miss the playoffs of the ICSL league but bag an epic win in their final game.

UP-Tuks players defend Wits Buck’s Umtha Mavuso as he takes a shot. Photo: Sbongile Molambo

Wits Bucks emerge victorious in their last game of the Inner-City Super League (ICSL) season at Hall 29, Wits University on May 5, with an exhilarating score of 74-65.

The Wits Bucks took on the University of Pretoria (UP-Tuks) in the regional club basketball league. The boys in blue were off to a great start and took the lead in the first quarter of the match. But the opponents, UP-Tuks did not take their dominance lying down, increasing their defensive capabilities in the second half to bringing on a 32-32 stalemate by half time.

In the third and fourth quarters of the game, Wits Bucks maintained their stronghold. The home team did not hold back and blocked every advance Tuks made. Wits player Umtha Mavuso intensely blocked off Tuks player Aku Malaila from passing the ball. However, UP-Tuks came back strong for the final quarters of the game thus increasing their momentum and closing the third quarter with a score of 45-46. As the game got more intense the home side made a couple of foul plays which resulted in UP-Tuks being awarded two penalty shots.

Five minutes before the match ended Wits was leading with a score of 70-65 against their rivals.

Speaking to Wits Vuvuzela, UP-Tuks player Aku Malaila, said, “I think it was a good game it went down to the wire.” Malaila added that it was a good fight overall both from Wits and Tuks.

Head coach of Wits Bucks, Siyabonga Kana, said it was a good way to send the guys off in terms of the season as this was their last game. He added that the team finished fifth in the log, meaning they narrowly miss a spot in the upcoming playoffs, which will be the league’s deciding matches.

A spectator at the game, Emmanuel Maiza, said: “I feel like Wits pulled through especially with their defence. Defence won them their game.” Maiza attributed the Wits win to the team’s “high intensity.”

FEATURED IMAGE: UP-Tuks coach Kweyama briefing the team during the second half of the game. Photo: Sbongile Molambo


Wits Varsity Cup sorrows

Tuks receive another line out at the 10m mark. Photo: Caro Malherbe

WITS THRASHED: Tuks receive another line out at the 10m mark in their match against Wits last night. Photo: Caro Malherbe

Wits walked away empty handed at home after a crushing 53-8 loss against UP-Tuks, (University of Pretoria), on Monday night.

It was a disappointing loss as Wits struggled to establish themselves in a match reminiscent of the club’s poor performance in last year’s competition. The team finished last on the log in the 2013 season after failing to win a single match. 

Wits started off on a high note, scoring the first try of the match within the first five minutes, thanks to scrumhalf, Matt Torrence.

Tuks equalised two minutes later with a try by Wiaan Liebenberg. Former junior Springbok, Dries Swanepoel put Tuks in the lead with another try within minutes of the first. Missing the second conversion, the score stood at 8-13 to Tuks, 15 minutes into the game.

Wits  clearly lacked discipline and made some silly mistakes, handing over penalties and helping Tuks gain ground towards the try line where Swanepoel scored his second try of the match plus a cleared conversion. At half-time Tuks lead with 21-8.

A full Wits FNB Stadium shows their support while singing the South Africa national anthem. Photo: Caro Malherbe

A full Wits Rugby Stadium shows their support while singing the South Africa national anthem. Photo: Caro Malherbe

At half-time, the filled-to-capacity Wits Rugby Stadium were entertained by the Wits cheerleaders who now boast two male  members.

During the second half, Wits upped their defence preventing Tuks from scoring as they made a playfor the  close to the try line. At almost an hour onto the game, Tuks managed to push through with Swanepoel scoring his third try for his team, leading 29-8 after a successful conversion.

Tuks’ Swanepoel received a yellow card for a high tackle on fly half, Ashlon Davids. However, the officials seemed to have made a mess of things as Tuks continued with a 15 man team.

A further three tries were scored by Tuks captain ,Reniel Hugo followed by wing, Jade Stighling and replacement for Swanepoel, Leneve Damens scored the last try of the night, finalizing the scoreboard at 52-8.

Tuks, last year’s Varsity Cup champions, admittedly were surprised by Wits’ effort. Man of the match, Swanepoel said: “It was tougher than we thought it would be. Wits came in very hard but unfortunately it was our night.”

Wits coach, Andy Royle went into the game with only five members from last years’ final Varsity Cup match against UCT. A number of players did not meet Wits’ academic requirements and therefore have restrictions on their playing time. Royle was hoping his team would make a comeback after last year, but the lack of experienced players in the Wits side is going to make things tricky for the rest of the season.