Dale College vs Grey High school of Port Elizabeth

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Dale hosts the travelling Grey High School of Port Elizabeth on the Dale fields on Saturday 6, June 2015. There have been many outstanding games of rugby between these two great schools. The spoils have been in the main competitive encounters with the occasional “run away” wins for both sides. Dale has battled against Grey over the last 10 years. The origins of the fixture make for interesting reading. Association football (soccer) was discontinued at    the end of the 1916 season. The First World War no doubt had an affect on sport and competitive schools rugby was affected as well.

The 1917 season saw rugby again assert itself more prominently.   

The 1918 rugby season saw a new Dale College opponent, Grey High School from Port Elizabeth.

Dale travelled to that city to play Grey High School in the inaugural match on the 23 May 1918. Dale was successful by 6-5. What is unique about the First Team fixtures against Grey is that during that 1918 season the two schools met three times and all because of the pleasures or the inconvenience of train travel!

Grey had travelled by train to King Williams Town for the return game on a Saturday afternoon. The result was a pointless draw. History shows that the return train journey back to Port Elizabeth was only late afternoon on the Monday. This meant that the Grey boys had time on their hands to kick their heels in town, attend classes at Dale or arrange another rugby match.

Rugby was the popular choice to while away the time and another game was hastily arranged and received “official” blessings from Dale and no doubt from the Grey travelling party.

The Dale First team players also jumped at the chance to miss a few hours of school to meet their Port Elizabeth rivals on that particular Monday at midday. Grey High School players threw all into the game and were worthy winners by 5 points to nil. Dale and Grey have never again met each other on the rugby field three times in the same season.

The tale of the tape shows the following statistics:

From 1918 to the end of the 1991 season:

Played 70 Won 30 Lost 30 Drawn 10 Dale Points 562 Grey Points 567

The complete statistics from 1918 to 2014 season read:

Played 93 Won 37 Lost 46 Drawn 10 Dale Points 952 Grey Points 1115

Clearly Dale lost their way from 1991 to widen the Won and Lost statistics in favour of Grey. That being said there is never any underestimating of either side by the opposing teams. Grey are fortunate in having a much wider feeder base of pupils to give much depth of rugby talent.

That talent is developed in much the same way as at Dale to bring the best out of the individual player to the benefit of the team.

A blemish on the cordial relations between Dale and Grey occurred after Grey was defeated by Dale in King William’s Town during the 1999 fixture. The Grey Headmaster arrived at Dale supposedly under instructions from his SGB to cancel future sporting contacts and particularly rugby fixtures. The reason being that the Dalians were “too robust” in their style of play. After Headmaster to Headmaster heated discussion it was eventually decided to not have the 2000 fixture and to cool the onesided accusations of over robust play.

Now that fixture was never cancelled but only on paper at First XV level. Thanks to Graeme College.

Both schools were invited to play at the Graeme College Rugby Day in 2000. Clearly the hosts clever marketing department saw an opportunity to have Dale and Grey meet each other in Grahamstown. The result is that rugby as a game of hard knocks won the day over what ever motives were in play.

We wish both sides a happy and entertaining game on Saturday and may rugby be the overall winner.

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