The northern derby

Who is the real king of the north? The answer differs depending on who you ask but two schools share the honour of hosting the northern suburb’s oldest interschools derby and with the event turning 30 years old next year, it’s no mean feat.

The score cards show that even among themselves, once the battle lines are drawn and the dust is raised, it’s anybody’s game as in their more traditional codes of rugby and netball, both President High School and JG Meiring stand nearly neck and neck, with, over a 29 year period, President having a slight lead of 15 wins to Meiring’s 13 on the rugby pitch, with a single draw, when they played out to 6-a-piece in 2002.

In the netball arena, again the tally only slightly edges out in President’s favour with 16 victories to Meiring’s 13. However, when it comes to hockey, Meiring is baas, thrashing their rivals a whopping 17 times, while President managed a tally of 6 wins, with the teams playing out to 6 draws. Of course the Interschools plays an integral part in the community, with old boys and girls lining up on the side of the fields to cheer on the players who now stand in the same place they have over the better part of the last 30 years, with the first derby taking place way back in 1988. For the schools themselves it is a momentous occasion, one which carries a stack of pride, which the pupils get to show in all its glory on their “big brag” the Friday before the weekend’s clashes. This year JG Meiring were the hosts. On the rugby pitch the hosts were able to pip their visitors 18-16, while the netball girls, also making use of their home turf advantage, secured a 19-16 win. The hockey side, true to form, thrashed President 5-0 to clinch the complete bragging rights for the year.

Despite things not going his school’s way this year, President’s head of rugby, André Reichhardt, commended the event for the overall zest it brings out in the community at large.

“This is the biggest clash in Goodwood each year. Both schools give it their all and if you look at the results over the last 29 years you will see how even things have been. This event is true to Goodwood and its people and past learners always come to support. Next year marks a massive occasion with the 30th clash. When you think that most other Interschools in the northern suburbs haven’t even reached the 20 year mark, it makes you realise just how special this is.”

“As with every year, the rugby is really the highlight and seeing the teams line up for the school songs and being introduced to the principals is something special.

“The matches really bring out the best in the children and they are played hard right down to the bitter end,” he said.