Pinetown Raiders lift the Findlay Cup

2013-09-12 00:00

DRAKENSBURG were no match for a determined Pinetown Raiders last Saturday in the final of the Findlay Cup, played at Riverside sports grounds.

At the final whistle, the Raiders had run out comfortable 24-7 winners, claiming a trophy they last won in 1990.

With nothing but victory on their minds, Raiders showed their intent from the opening stanza as they dominated in all phases of the game, putting Drakens­berg under pressure and camping deep in their half.

It was a matter of time before the shackles were broken, Raiders wing Sam Ogle outpacing his opposite number to score between the uprights after Drakens­berg had been forced to try and kick out of danger.

Pace was the key for Raiders, their youthful backs a constant and dangerous menace to the men from the mountains.

Raiders scrumhalf Zuzile “Chicken” Nkuku was protected by a disciplined and tightly knit bunch of forwards, allowing him to deliver pinpoint ball to the hungry three-quarters.

Running the ball freely, Pinetown ran in two more five pointers before the break to enjoy a comfortable 19-0 advantage.

Against a fierce wind in the second period, Raiders picked up where they had left off, although Drakensberg were first on the board, rewarded with a converted try after putting together some slick passages of play.

Spurred into action, Raiders pressed to assert their authority and put the result beyond doubt.

The opportunity came when Jonothan Hammond pounced on a loose ball and dashed for the line, showing a clean pair of heels for 70 metres to cross the whitewash.

This was the nail in the coffin for Drakensberg and enough for Raiders to lift the cup.

“We set winning the Findlay Cup as our goal for the season,” said Raiders chairperson Phillip Pieterse, who came on in the final eight minutes of the game. “I am proud of the players we have and they were hungry for the win. There was no thoughts of coming second and it showed in our play and the final result.”

While basking in the glory of the cup win, there is still work to be done for Raiders. As winners of the Third Division, they have a massive promotion-relegation match this Saturday against UKZN in Durban, for promotion to the First Division.

A loss will mean another season in Third Division and back to start to begin the process once again for the long season ahead.

“This is a huge game for the club and will boost our standing within club rugby,” said Pieterse. “Promotion will see us playing a different level of rugby and encourage local talent to join the club.”

The match on Saturday kicks off at 3.45 pm.

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