Varsity College Old Boys would have celebrated long into the night after edging out their long-time rivals Acer Durban Collegians 25-22 in their first round Fidelity Security Premier Division clash after their star of the show flyhalf Warren Randall slotted a last gasp drop-goal to secure a famous victory for the side from Durban North. What would have made their victory that much sweeter was the fact that they were away from home, and even though outscored four tries to one by the home side, they did enough to come away with four valuable league log points, leaving them and FNB UKZN Maritzburg poised on second spot on the log table behind leaders Jonsson College Rovers.
The game - a Fidelity Security feature family day encounter - might not have risen to any great heights, did nevertheless have its moments, with Collegians scrumhalf Dwayne Kelly crossing for two of their tries with the others going to wing Kyle Hartley and flanker Francois Kleinhans, with only one of the touchdowns being converted, which undoubtedly cost them the game. Oldies young flyhalf Randall, on the other hand, was on target with four penalties and the drop-goal that sealed the game for the visitors. Their lone try came from scrumhalf Rowan Howse, making it an all halfback affair for the victors. For Oldies coach Carel Nel, his passion for the game was indeed rewarded on the evening as he now takes his charges forward to fight another day.
In yet another close encounter, Varsity, with home ground advantage in the capital, squeezed home 25-24 against their visitors, Bluff SuperSpar Harlequins, leaving them and Old Boys in a tense battle for a second spot standing as Rovers seem to now be in an unassailable position to retain the 137 year old trophy after beating Ricoh Maritzburg Collegians 54-3.
Rovers yet again didn't really play at their full potential but really looked a polished unit in phases with Jors Dannhauser and Kosie Haarhoff crossing for two tries apiece in their eight try rout with the others going to Chris Jordaan, Jaco van Tonder, Danie Mienie and Anton Verster. Dannhauser showed that he has a good boot on him as well slotting five conversions with another two being kicked by skipper Chris Micklewood. Maritzburg Collegians can hold their heads high and can only learn and grow from each game.
In the remaining match, Telnet Crusaders, with former Sharks pivot Monty Dumont back in harness for the club, picked up their first victory of the season narrowly beating Thanda Zululand Rhinos 24-16, so leaving the outfit from Empangeni propping up the log table. One now feels that the side from Ranleigh Crescent fortunes are about to change as they rebuild that was once a vibrant and successful club - indeed good news for their supporters.
In the Under 20 'A' Division, it looks as though Harlequins could take the silverware for the first time in their history after beating Rovers 31-21 in the curtain-raiser to the Vodacom Super 15 match between the Sharks and the Force. It certainly would be a worthy reward for coach Andy Keast and the man who has put so much time and effort into the Harlequins cause, Mike Gedye.
In the other games, Old Boys beat Midlands 73-0 and Durban Collegians accounted for Crusaders 39-16.
In the First Division, there is another battle-royale going on for top honours with Toti, Fidelity Security Jaguars and Fidelity Security South Coast Warriors now beginning to find their feet after UKZN Durban and Teichmann Bell Ballito Dolphins had earlier set the pace, leaving the league now intriguingly wide open.
- Jos Robson