Jonsson College Rovers and Bluff SuperSpar Harlequins shared the spoils on finals day with Rovers saving their best performance of the local club season for last as the final curtain dropped on the 2011 KZNRU club rugby season with the 111th playing of the Castle Murray Cup final at the home grounds of the Goss and Balfe Northlands Crusaders Rugby Club, which they comprehensively won beating a brave Acer Durban Collegians side 58-18 in an impressive performance fitting of a final.
Collegians were very much in the game in the first half opening the scoring with a Willie du Plessis penalty, but the Fidelity Security Premier Divisions champions bounced back immediately with a try by Man of the Match Daniel Adonga - the first of three from the big Kenyan No 8 - but a second penalty by Collegians flyhalf Du Plessis put them back in front. The lead was short-lived however with a Guy Cronje penalty. Collegians then struck back and were awarded the first of their two tries with centre Steve Crouse going over for a superb touchdown after a Chris Mickelwood clearance kick had been charged down.
It was only in the second half that Rovers really took control of the proceedings after narrowly leading 20-13 at the break before Adonga had scored his second and wing Mark Richards had crossed for the first of his two tries.
The champions scored 38 points in the second half as they completely dominated matters with Adonga crossing for his third and the others going to wing Richards, replacement wing Rosco Speckman, big Nikolai Blignaut and Man of the Tournament Chris Mickelwood who ended up as the top try scorer in the competition with six of the best. Guy Cronje did the rest of the damage with his boot.
Douglas Watson scored a consolation try near the end for Du Plussis to convert and Rovers had retained the coveted 121 year old trophy for the 16th time in their 112 year history and will now have a week to regroup and prepare for the National Club Championships in Stellenbosch between 17 and 23 September. For Collegians as the runners-up ,they can still go away with the knowledge that they have won the coveted trophy more times than any other club in the province.
Harlequins took the honours in a tightly-contested Junior Murray Cup final when they edged out a luckless Vryheid side 30-27. Vryheid were understandably hugely disappointed as it did appear that the game had gone on for a few minutes longer. It was heart-breaking stuff for the warriors from the Lammergeyer Rugby Union in Northern KZN. Take nothing away from Quins, they had to dig deep to earn themselves their third trophy on the day after earlier adding the Starlite Aviation Under 19 Trophy when they narrowly beat last year’s winners Durban Collegians 17-15 and the Keith Parkinson Trophy in their 39-8 victory march over Amanzimtoti.
Rovers added another two trophies to their already impressive haul this season when their Third XV beat ZRA Thanda Empangeni 64-24 in the final of Findlay Cup competition, while their second stringers retained the Peter Taylor Trophy after beating Durban Collegians 44-20 in the final of the Premier Division Reserve league knockout competition.
Varsity College Old Boys won their second piece of silverware after beating Hillcrest in the final of the Chris Edwards Trophy under 20 ‘C’ knockout competition while in the Ashleigh Bowls Cup Under 19 ‘D’ final, Newlands East beat Ogwini Bafana 31-7 .
The Promotion Relegation match between First Division club Ricoh Maritzburg and Premier Division side Fidelity Security Jaguars will be hosted in Sydenham by Jaguars on Saturday with the kickoff scheduled for 12 noon.
- Jos Robson