Wednesday Column

It was a weekend of surprises in the Castle Murray Cup knockout competition with First Division club sides Ricoh Maritzburg Collegians and Newcastle Highlanders stealing the limelight away from the main focus point of the 2011 opening round at Ashton College the home of the Teichmann Bell Ballito Dolphins when they toppled Premier Division sides Fidelity Security Jaguars and Bluff SuperSpar Harlequins respectively. In what must have been one of the biggest upsets in KZN club rugby history, the Newcastle Highlanders who didnít even finish top of the North Section log table sent Harlequins packing with a 24-19 win over their supposedly more fancied visitors from Durban and no doubt there would have been many a toast on Charles Glass at the after match celebrations in the Northern KZN town last Saturday.

In the other upset of the weekend, Maritzburg Collegians hammered Jaguars 39-3 at Woodburn in the capital and here one looks at the possibilities of the Pietermaritzburg side regaining Premier Division status as they certainly have had a fine season even though there will be a little concern about the depth of their club.

The game that sponsors Castle Lager showcased saw Ballito Dolphins hosting Varsity College Old Boys in bitterly cold and wet conditions, which didnít dampen the enthusiasm of the locals who came out to support their team. Oldies made short work of their hosts coming away with a 62-3 win, scoring eight tries in their opening quest for the crown. Old Boys had their hooker Dean Muir in outstanding form leading the try scoring spree with three of the best. Muir has grown in stature this season and definitely deserves an opportunity at a higher level. Their other tries went to wing Andre Fourie, No 8 Calvin Masson, lock Mark van Aswegen, Siyabonga Nsimbi and Calvin Kamezos who also kicked the balance to come away with 22 points from the game. Tony Ferreira kicked a lone penalty for the Dolphins. Brian Shabangu was awarded the Castle Man of the Match and was presented with a R500 cheque by Russell Hunt of SAB.

2010 Murray Cup champions Jonsson College Rovers travelled to Vryheid and got their campaign off to a good start when they beat the winners of the First Division North Section 45-5, also in bitterly cold conditions. Although far from their best and not looking as fluid as they have done, Rovers crossed for six tries with wing Anton Verster bagging two and the others going to the other wing Rosco Specman, prop Roy Grant, former Sharks and Bok centre Gcobani Bobo and flank TC Khoza, with Guy Cronje at flyhalf slotting five conversions.

In the other games Acer Durban Collegians hammered their hosts Ladysmith 75-19 while ZRA Thanda winners of the cup in 2008 beat Amanzimtoti 35-20 down the South Coast and at Shongweni FNB UKZN Pietermaritzburg beat Hillcrest 44-0. Finally Goss and Balfe Crusaders travelled to Richards Bay to beat the Zululand side 31-7

- Jos Robson