Marshall Security Crusaders came away with one of their most famous wins in recent seasons when they beat their more favoured visitors from Pietermaritzburg, FNB UKZN Impi 16-11 in a gruelling Fidelity Security Premier Division rugby encounter that had the home side's supporters on the edge of their seats right up to the final whistle.
It was enthralling stuff and both sides deserve accolades for showing patience in a game sadly dominated by the whistle. Impi flyhalf Carl Meyer and ‘Saders’ centre Cameron Dunlop traded penalties in the early part of the first half before Varsity wing Ngcebo Masikane went over for an uncoverted try to give the students an 8-3 lead. Dunlop kicked another penalty before the close of the half to leave the students up 8-6 at the break.
It was Crusaders who were dominant in the line-outs and set-pieces that gave them the ascendancy in the second half with their wing Willem Rheeder crossing for a superbly worked try, converted by Dunlop. Meyer and Dunlop traded penalties towards the end and it was only a resolute defence by the Durban North home side that kept the Impi out to survive the students' final onslaught and hold on for a memorable victory.
Across the Umgeni, home side Jonsson College Rovers, who had been lying second on the log table behind UKZN Impi, raced to the top of the log when they emphatically destroyed Ricoh Maritzburg Collegians 90-0 with debutant wing Alvin Brandt crossing for two of their 14 tries. Leading 40-0 at the break Rovers clearly looking a lot more cohesive with Chris Jordaan looking superb at flyhalf scoring two tries while centre and skipper Chris Micklewood also got in on the act with two tries as well as converting 10 of the 14 touchdowns. The other tries went to No 8 Juan Language, wing Jors Dannhauser (2), fullback Kyle Wilkinson (2), scrumhalf Anton Verster, hooker Chris Kemp and wing Wandile Mjekevu.
Referee Greg Wedderburn, making his debut in the Premier Division, deserves credit as it was fast-flowing game and although a one-sided affair, he had his hands full and performed admirably well. Certainly the coaching staff from both sides were full of praise for the young man’s debut performance at this level.
In the other games, SA Home Loans Durban Collegians kept in touch with Rovers, beating Oxford Wentworth Harlequins 59-6 while in Empangeni, Varsity College scored an impressive away win against a badly depleted Thanda Zululand Rhinos side, beating the Mick Kelly Park based side 63-10.
In the First Division South Section games, home side Ballito Dolphins went down 21-14 against the visiting Amanzimtoti outfit while Hillcrest beat Fidelity Security Jaguars 15-9 and Richards Bay edged out UKZN Durban 13-10 on the Durban Campus.
In the Under 20 ‘A’ Division, Rovers beat UKZN Durban 42-16, Durban Collegians ran riot against Quins winning 64-3 and Crusaders had a great win against UKZN Maritzburg, while Varsity College beat Jaguars 34-3.
Third Division rugby club Pinetown celebrated the opening of their new club house at Lahee Park on Saturday afternoon with a good win over Varsity College in the Walker Cup competition. Affectionately known as the Highwaymen during their golden era under Bob Waterhouse, they beat the side from Durban North 32-12. Now known as the Pinetown Raiders, there now looks like a positive way forward for the club, certainly the likes of Waterhouse and one of the great legends of the club, Thys van Arken, there will be smiles of approval from above for the grand old club founded in 1926.