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Wednesday Column

One couldn't have wished for a better build up to the final of the Castle Murray Cup knockout competition with the semi-finals having been so closely contested in an entertaining afternoon of club rugby at the home of Crusaders at Ranleigh Crescent in Durban North on Saturday.

Pre-match predictions had most supporters backing Acer Durban Collegians and Jonsson College Rovers to make it through to the final. It was not to be however with Envirosan Old Boys who finished fourth on the Premier Division log table and complete underdogs digging deep to see them through after their hard-fought victory over Durban Collegians.

It will be a case of 'Play it again Sam' as the 2009 Castle Murray Cup Champions College Rovers will once again go through to face 'Oldies' in the final this weekend after a hard fought 19-16 win over Goss and Balfe Crusaders in their semi-final clash, and one can only hope for a repeat performance of last year's thrilling finale to the club season.

Most of the drama took place in the opening semi-final as ‘Oldies’ sneaked in to beat Acer Durban Collegians 18-16, Collegians senior coach Ray van Noordwyk, by his own admission, felt that a lack of discipline was the major factor in his side’s demise.

One has to say full marks to Old Boys who trailed 8-3 at the break to come back to take the honours and set up a repeat final that surely has Rovers down as now only marginal favourites with the Moor Cup champions having lost some of their key players to Griquas.

Both sides scored two ties each with Collegians touchdowns coming from wing Kyle Hartley and lock Tom Brown with Jacques Venter kicking two penalties. Old Boys replied with a try from centre Sandro Fernandez and flank Kyle van Deventer who crossed for the match-winner with fullback Ryan Matthyson kicking the balance.

In the other semi-final Rovers also came back from the dead to win their way through to the final, out-scoring Crusaders complete with former ‘Bok’ flyhalf Andre Pretorius in harness two tries to one. The rugby wasn’t pretty but then sem’s are never that entertaining in a do-or-die situation. But all in all it was a great advert for the club game

Jean Stemmet and Anton Verster scored the tries for Rovers with Wesley Dunlop kicking three penalties. Crusaders replied with a try from flank Juan Language with a classy drop goal from Pretorius and a conversion and two penalties from Kobus de Kock.

Ulrich Pretorius of Collegians and Skoliwe Ndlovu from Crusaders were both named Castle Man of the Match in their respective outings.

Rovers also went through to the final of the Peter Taylor Knockout competition after hammering Crusaders 61-10. They will meet Collegians who beat Old Boys 48-3 in their semi-final game.

Airtron Harlequins will meet Collegians in the final of the Starlite Aviation Under 19 Cup after accounting for Midlands 36-17. Collegians had earlier edged out Old Boys 14-10.

ChemSpec Jaguars will meet Vryheid in the Final of the Junior Murray Cup after narrowly beating Gestetner Maritzburg Collegians 31-28 in their semi-final. Vryheid had earlier accounted for Piet Reteif 24-17. Finals day will take place at Crusaders this Saturday and a great afternoon of festive club rugby can be expected.