Top PMB clubs put in fine performances

2010-08-25 00:00

THE top two Pietermaritzburg club rugby teams in with a chance of claiming some silverware at the end of the season experienced contrasting fortunes at the weekend.

In the Junior Murray Cup quarter-final at Woodburn Stadium, PMB Collegians ground out a solid 28-9 victory over an outplayed Hillcrest, a side that had given the red, black and whites two torrid KZN First Division South Section league games this season.

Rank underdogs PMB Varsity almost brought off the upset of the season before going down 20-18 to Durban Collegians in a Castle Murray Cup last eight clash at the coast.

“We played so well and while it was very disappointing to lose we were so close and the guys put on an amazing performance,” said Varsity assistant coach Beans Bateman.

“I said to the guys afterwards that we definitely could have won it.”

Indeed, the score was 18-17 to Varsity until five minutes from the final whistle, and perhaps if they had managed to stay down in the Durban Collegians’ half it might have been a different outcome.

“The first side dominated Durban Collegians in the second half and it was unfortunate for us conceding that match-winning penalty at the end,” said Varsity club administrator and second team captain Shane le Breton.

A satisfied Bateman said the Varsity boys gave it everything, and even the Durban Collegian camps said afterwards that the students deserved to win.

“The guys were very happy with the way they played but it was mixed with disappointment as they know they could have won,” Bateman said. “Still, it was a heartening way to finish off the season playing rugby of that calibre.”

Varsity had lost both Premier Division league matches by big margins to Durban Collegians, but the outstanding effort of the pack was rewarded when the Whites’ number eight, Calvin Adam, picked up the Castle man-of-the-match award.

“He was phenomenal, while flyhalf Wessel Booysen had a good game as well,” said Bateman.

“I said to the players before the game that this might be their last match of the season, so give it your all and don’t leave anything on the table.”

The campus team can probably reflect on the fact that their old bugbear, a lack of experience at critical moments, let them down: inaccurate decision making played a major role in half a dozen losses that on another day might have been wins this season.

As far as next season’s Varsity Shield is concerned, Bateman said the players have already set up an off-season conditioning programme and it is now a matter of waiting for the University of KZN authorities to give the club the green light for the inaugural year of what is essentially a second division promotion competition, which is riding on the wave of success the top eight Varsity Cup has enjoyed.

In the PMB Collegians/Hillcrest match at Woodburn, young referee Tony Correira, who has been fast-tracked onto the SA Rugby Union development panel, penalised the home side constantly at the breakdown and the visitors profited from one such offence when fullback Jakes Venter landed one of his three penalties in the match.

Collegians trailed 9-3 before centre Kirsten Jones pulled them back to 9-9 and then converted the first of in-form fellow centre Shane Driemeyer’s brace of tries following a perfectly weighted chip over the on-rushing defensive line by flyhalf Dirkie Grobler.

Turning around 16-9 to the good, Collegians were only denied by stout Hillcrest defence until Driemeyer got in on the act for his second touchdown. Fullback Conal Levine converted before the try of the match was finished off by right wing Ross Ashton following several phases of perfectly executed play had left Hillcrest on their knees in exhaustion.

Collegians have a tough semi-final encounter away to Premier Division Hillcrest, but it is another opportunity to enhance their reputation after the outstanding effort in the narrow defeat to Varsity in the PMB Cup final.

RESULTS

Castle Murray Cup: College Rovers 52 Zululand 17; Crusaders 39 Harlequins 19; DBN Collegians 20 Maritzburg Varsity 18; Old Boys 20 South Coast 9. Reserves - Peter Taylor Knockout: Rovers 69 Zululand 19; Crusaders (walkover) Harlequins; DBN Collegians 25 Maritzburg Varsity 19; Old Boys 40 South Coast 12. Junior Murray Cup: PMB Collegians 28 Hillcrest 9; Jaguars 20 Amanzimtoti 3; Vryheid 60 Ladysmith 0; Piet Retief (w/o) Ballito. Reserves - Keith Parkinson Cup: P Coll (w/o) Hillcrest; Jags 12 Toti 25; Vryheid 30 Ladysmith 29; Piet Retief (w/o) Ballito. Starlite Aviation U19 Cup: Harlequins 19 DBN Collegians 13; Rovers 23 Old Boys 17.

FIXTURES

Friday – Jnr M Cup semi: Vryheid vs Piet Ret.

Saturday – Castle Murray Cup semis (Crusaders): D Coll vs OB (1 pm); Saders vs Rovers (2.30 pm). Reserves: Saders II vs Rovers II; D Coll II vs OB II. Jnr Murray Cup semi-final: Jaguars vs P Coll (2.30 pm). Reserves – KP Cup semi: Toti II vs P Coll II (Toti (12.30 pm).

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