Bluff SuperSpar Harlequins bravely survived a major onslaught from their hosts Acer Durban Collegians in the closing minutes of their all important Fidelity Security Premier Division clash to hold on for a famous victory beating the second placed side on the log table 22-19. Collegians who looked a shadow of the side that started the season were badly depleted - so much so that their evergreen loyal stalwart Matthew Gibson, who had earlier in the year announced his retirement from the First XV because of business commitments, found himself in the starting line up at flyhalf with a number of their second stringers also doing duty.
Never before has the club's depth been put under such pressure with injuries, Sharks and Sharks under 19 and 21 call ups. It was little wonder that chairman Ian Losinsky was gutted yet again after his side's brave finish to the game in working so hard to secure the winning bonus point try in the fast fading light on Saturday.
Take nothing away from ‘The Mighty Quins’ they had trailed for most of the match on a very slippery pitch but somehow found that inspirational belief that they could win in the last quarter and when flyhalf Stevie Meyer went over for his second try to secure the lead the Bluff supporters understandably went delirious. The last five minutes however must have been sheer agony for them as Collegians looked as though they were going to come back from dead to earn the bonus point as they climbed in pressurising the visitors line with all their worth until controversial referee Norman Torien finally blew his whistle in the gloom of the early winter evening. It was nail-bighting stuff for certain and no doubt there were celebrations aplenty for Carel Nel and his charges late into the night out on the Bluff.
Stevie Meyer was the toast of the Harlequins side scoring two tries to go with a penalty and a conversion while No 8 Rhyk Welgemoed crossed for the third and flank Johann de Bruin added a conversion. Collegians replied with tries from skipper Robbie Harris, lock Tom Brown and No 8 Matthew Hill with scrumhalf Calvin Sacks slotting two conversions.
Across on Reebok Park (KP 3) hosts Jonsson College Rovers raced into an almost unassailable position at the top of the log table after their 33-5 victory over Varsity College Old Boys with their wing Jors Dannhauser scoring three beautifully executed tries and so becoming the leading try scorer in the competition. Flank Kosie Haarhof crossed for Rovers fourth try leaving him as the second most try scorer in the league. Chris Mickelwood, who has done a great job as skipper in Eric Ngoi’s absence, kicked three penalties and two conversions to conclude the scoring.
A few eyebrows were raised in the remaining game played in Sydenham where Fidelity Security Jaguars secured their first win of the season, comprehensively beating Thanda ZRA Zululand Rhinos 34-19, but what would have been even more positive for Jaguars going forward was the fact that their second stringers drew 5-5 with their visitors from Empangeni. The game between Balfe and Goss Crusaders and FNB UKZN Pietermaritzburg was postponed because of the students' commitments at the Varsity Rugby Week. The UKZN Mritzburg side hosted Durban Collegians last night (Tuesday evening) score to follow if in time
In the First Division Top Five Ricoh Maritzburg Collegians edged out Amanzimtoti 28-25 and Richards Bay beat Hillcrest. In the Bottom Five competition Kokstad pulled off a surprise win over South Coast Warriors beating the side from Port Shepstone 10-7.
The Premier Reserve league sees Rovers in command at the moment while Durban Collegians now hold top spot in the Third Division Walker Cup after Old Boys beat Rovers 12-8 on Saturday. Oldies look set to take the Fourth Division Foaden Bowl being in a commanding lead on the log table.
The draw for the Castle Murray Cup knockout competition is scheduled to take place at the new Cotton Fields in Umhlanga Rocks on Monday 25 July starting 5pm for 5.30pm as club rugby welcomes the return of Jono Sheehan-Shephard and Razz Blankfield with Kimmy Reardon.
- Jos Robson