Dixons, the home of the “Green Machine”, is an inhospitable place.
The field is hard, the crowd is partisan and there is just no doubting the host’s intentions to dish up hard, uncompromising rugby.
Throw humid, blustery conditions into the cauldron, and you get some sense of the scene that greeted 18 Michaelhouse rugby teams as they disembarked at Glenwood on Saturday. The boys in red were equal to the task, though, and threw themselves at their first winter sport fixture in front of an audience for some years.
The first XVs thundered onto Dixons for their 88th showdown with Michaelhouse, who were looking for their first win over Glenwood since that far-off home ground win by the memorable first team of 2015.
But fortune had other plans and the visitors found themselves watching their 10-8 advantage slip between their fingers as penalty after penalty took the game further out of their grasp. A late penalty lineout on Glenwood’s try line, with both teams reduced to 14 men, didn’t deliver the fairytale draw which Michaelhouse supporters had convinced themselves would be a fair result. Glenwood’s 17-10 win was their 38th over Michaelhouse since 1934.
Meanwhile, the Michaelhouse Hockey Club found themselves in a no more hospitable environment at the Three Schools Hockey Astro five minutes down the road in Durban.
Like their brothers, they threw down the gauntlet and stepped up to the plate losing just one fixture, a 0-3 loss for the U16D lads.
By half time in the first XI game, Glenwood, looking for their first positive result since their 1-1 draw with House back in 2016 must have felt reasonably confident of being able to up the home field tempo and convert the 0-0 half time score into a win.
House skipper Kamo Rathepe and his boys had other plans, romping home to a 4-1 full time scoreline.