Varsity triumph but Collegians unhappy

2012-06-27 00:00

IN what must go down as one of the most dramatic matches between Maritzburg Varsity and PMB Collegians in decades, the campus club edged the red, black and whites 30-29 at Woodburn Stadium at the weekend.

The students led 21-19 at half-time, and went on to retain the Maritzburg Derby Cup and gain four valuable premier-division points, while Collegians were left with a single point to show for a superb effort that left some players in tears, such was the emotion of the defeat.

With unerring goalkicking on both sides, keeping the scoreboard ticking over, it was remarkable that Collegians only took the lead in the final quarter. However, contentious refereeing decisions might have changed the picture on another day.

Varsity had won the floating trophy in a torrid premier-division first-round clash on campus, and things were going their way at 14-3, with quality tries from wingers Richard Hayworth and Jaco Potgieter.

It didn’t look to be the underdogs’ day, as three consecutive attacking scrums on the tryline saw the Varsity front-row stand up, and Collegians president Tony Day later said he had queried why a penalty try was not awarded. He added that the referee admitted he had made a mistake. In the second quarter, Collegians repeated the medicine in a series of epic five-metre scrums in the other corner, for prop Josh Caruth to finally crash over (14-13).

The second contentious issue occurred when Varsity hit back with a slick backline move, finished off by fullback Alex Curry, that saw the Collegians defensive line instinctively stop for what they felt was crossing (obstruction), but the official saw it otherwise (21-13).

Flyhalf Conal Levin’s immaculate goalkicking kept Collegians in contention throughout, and the teams changed ends at 21-19. The big hits continued and tempers reached breaking point, but Collegians looked to have made the game-breaking try that saw scrumhalf Brendon Fourie break blind, left wing Juan Myburgh make a good run and pass for right wing Gary Surendorff to score, as the race for victory turned into the home straight.

Levin converted for Collegians to at last go in front at 26-24. The third contentious issue then followed as Potgieter’s pressure penalty goal was adjudged to have gone over by one of the assistant referees, while the other waved it away. The referee ruled the kick as good.

Collegians again came back with a Levin penalty for 29-27, but in the dying minutes of a wonderful contest, the equally consistent Potgieter kicked the winning goal to close a classic match.

Meanwhile, Harlequins have won the U20 A division for the first time, with Durban Collegians the runners-up, and College Rovers having been knocked out, while College Rovers firsts were edged 23-21 by Tukkies in a friendly at King’s Park.

POINTS SCORERS

• PMB Varsity 30 (21) Tries: Richard Hayworth, Jaco Potgieter, Alex Curry; Conversions: Jaco Potgieter (3); Penalties: Potgieter (3).

• PMB Collegians 29 (19) Tries: Josh Caruth, Gary Surendorff; Conversions: Conal Levin (2); Penalties: Levin (5).

• Premier-division log (played 10 unless stated): 1. College Rovers 46 points, 2. Varsity College (previously Old Boys) 36 pts, 3. Durban Collegians (9) 35 pts, 4. PMB Varsity 25 pts, 5. Harlequins 21 pts, 6. PMB Collegians 11 pts, 7. Crusaders 10 pts, 8. Zululand Rhinos (9) 7 pts.

club results

• Premier-division: PMB Varsity 30 PMB Collegians 29, Crusaders 15 Varsity College 24, Zululand Rhinos 22 DBN Collegians 27, College Rovers 117 Harlequins 14. Prem reserves: Crusaders 15 Varsity College 65, PMB Collegians 12 UKZN Maritzburg 27,

Zululand 10 DBN Collegians 39.

• First division south: Ballito 27 UKZN Durban 6, Hillcrest 18 South Coast Warriors 31, Amanzimtoti 68 Richards Bay 5, Jaguars 57 PMB Waratahs 7.

Reserves: Ballito 3 UKZN Durban 33, Hillcrest 31 South Coast Warriors 5, Amanzimtoti 79 Richards Bay 7, Jaguars 24 PMB Waratahs 7.

•U20A Division: Harlequins 43 Varsity College 24, College Rovers (lost to) DBN Collegians (no score available). First-team friendly: College Rovers 21 Tukkies 23.

Photo: HENNIE LOMBARD

Midlands Rugby Sub-Union president Piet Herbst (left) presents the Maritzburg Derby Cup to captain Leon Stevens of Maritzburg Varsity after the campus club’s 30-29 victory over PMB Collegians at Woodburn on Saturday.

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