Wednesday Club Column
FNB UKZN Maritzburg eked out a nail-biting win, edging out their hosts Telnet Crusaders 24-18 at the club's grounds in Ranleigh Crescent Durban North in the Fidelity Security featured Premier Division game on Saturday.
It certainly was a great day for Saders even though they went down to the students from the capital as Neil Fitzpatrick the Corporate Sales Director of Telnet was on hand to hand over their first cheque which is part of their new sponsorship deal. Certainly the club's fortunes will turn for the better going forward and their supporters can undoubtedly now expect better days for their club.
Some close on 2000 spectators were on hand watch the Fidelity Security helicopter land with CEO of the KZNRU Pete Smith and Malcolm Stephens of Fidelity on board with the historic and priceless piece of silverware, the 137 year old Moor Cup and enjoy the game, which although never rising to any great heights did have its moments. Crusaders have improved somewhat since the beginning of the season and will certainly be ready for bigger things next year. They looked good in patches on Saturday with their tries going to wings Sam Boschel and Sizo Maseko with Monty Dumond kicking a conversion and two penalties. Varsity looked a lot hungrier on the day and perhaps shaded their hosts when it came to the structures in their game plan with scrumhalf Graham Koch and Jaco Potgieter crossing for the tries with Carl Meyer and Potgieter sharing the kicks for the hard-earned victory.
For the record, the Crusaders man of the match awards went to Sharks and Springbok flanker Jean Deysel in the forwards and Steve Strydom in the backs while for Varsity, Lwazi Ngcungama was chosen as their best forward while among the backs Graham Koch was awarded for his efforts.
Up in Pietermartzburg, Maritzburg Collegians picked up another important win beating their visitors from Empangeni, Waterstone Thanda Zululand Rhinos 34-17, thus lifting themselves off the bottom of the log. Out on the Bluff, Acer Durban Collegians went on the rampage thumping their hosts Bluff SuperSpar 76-5
In the remaining game, Jonsson College Rovers had a flattering 37-19 win over Varsity College RFC at Riverside in Durban North, which couldn’t have pleased the 2011 champions brains' trust as they now prepare to face Tukkies in the inaugural Champions Challenge match which sees the Varsity Cup champions up against the top open club in the country being played as a curtain-raiser to the John Smit Tribute match between Barney's Army and The Sharks.
Two soft tries by Rovers and a few missed penalties from the hosts possibly set the tone for their victory as there can be no doubt that the Old Boys pack did look a lot more solid on the night, even with Rovers fielding an all Sharks front row. Sharks hooker Craig Burden, with two superb opportunist tries, was understandably voted forward of the game. Their other tries came from their ever-consistent flanker Kosie Haarhoff, centre Nick Jackson and flyhalf Chris Micklewood, while Jors Dannhauser kicked three conversions and a penalty. Old Boys replied with two tries from Sharks centre Marius Joubert and another from Odwa Ndungane and two conversions.
In the Under 20’A’ Division, it appears that Quins have won their first piece of silverware in their young history, the Frank Norris Trophy’ after beating Crusaders 43-15 while Rovers accounted for Old Boys 31-10.
Amanzimtoti now look as though are well on their way to First Division glory in the South Section after a hard fought 48-45 win over Fidelity Security Jaguars while in the North Section there is a tight tussle between Vryheid and Newcastle Highlanders for the top honours.
- Jos Robson