Juniors shine at Craven Week

2013-07-02 00:00

THE Junior Craven Week in Bela Bela is now a thing of the past as matches on Thursday and Friday last week brought the festival to an end.

The third day’s play was on Thursday, following a welcome rest day on Wednesday.

By Friday, there were three unbeaten teams — the Blue Bulls, Western Province and the Pumas. KZN had won just one of their three matches after losing to Eastern Province on Thursday.

Eastern Province lost their first two games narrowly — 7-10 against Western Province and 5-10 against the Leopards — but had a change of fortunes against KZN, winning 21-5 and by three tries to one.

The first half was relatively tight with EP gradually gaining the upper hand with a bigger set of forwards and scoring one try. The second half saw EP dominating and going over for another two tries.

Two of these were scored by flank Hendrik du Toit and the other by lock Werner Gouws. All three tries were converted, while KZN eighth man Thabiso Mdeletshe, from Glenwood Prep, got over for their only try. This was his second try of the tournament — he also scored against Boland.

On Friday, KZN played against the Lions and it was a tight match with KZN leading 12-10 at half time. The Lions took an early lead, scoring two tries in the first nine minutes, but KZN hit back strongly with two tries in three minutes.

The first was by Mdeletshe (his third try of the week) and the second came from fullback William Norton from Cowan House. The second try was converted by Michael Goedeke.

This set the scene for a gripping second half. The teams lifted the tempo and physicality and tightened up their defence, and the result was a tryless second half. Lions fullback Muzilikazi Manyike held his nerve to slot over his kick for a 13-12 lead with minutes to go, while KZN’s attempt proved unsuccessful, and so did a late attempt to score a try.

The final game to see who the unofficial champions were was also a close match where Western Province won 11-10 after leading 8-3 at the break.

Final day scores: Border CD 21 SWD 5; Griquas 12 Namibia 5; Leopards 32 Limpopo BB 5; Free State 26 Zimbabwe 17; Lions 13 KZN 12; Valke 12 Griffons 5; Border 29 Pumas 12; EP 28 Boland 0; WP 11 Blue Bulls 10.

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