Woodburn encounter to decide PMB’s top team

2010-08-11 00:00

SATURDAY afternoon sees the long-awaited Murray Cup clash between Maritzburg Varsity and PMB Collegians at Woodburn Stadium.

Adding further spice to Saturday’s 3.30 pm match is the encounter doubling up as the Maritzburg (York and Lancaster Cup) final.

Varsity seconds meet Collegians seconds in the 2 pm curtain-raiser.

This year’s big game to determine the top dogs in PMB takes on a different complexion to recent seasons as both sides have had successful runs in their respective competitions.

Collegians have always been there and thereabouts in the KZN First Division South Section of late, but this season saw them win by a distance, old enemies South Coast, Amanzimtoti and Hillcrest tasting their dust for a change. The young Collegians side then went on to run Vryheid ever so close in the North/South league final.

Varsity have struggled in the 2008/09 seasons to the point where an amalgamation of clubs in PMB was strongly considered as a way to save the KZN capital’s lone Premier Division status, but the campus club got their act together this season and last Friday night’s 36-34 win over Jaguars ensures they finish an encouraging sixth in the competition.

With the First Division season over, focus was on Premier Division last Friday and ill-discipline from Varsity cost them against Jaguars as they allowed the Sydenham club to come back with two late tries to narrow what should have been a comfortable winning margin.

College Rovers clinched their fifth Premier Division title after thumping Old Boys 37-7 and they will fly the KZN flag at National Club Champs in Stellenbosch next month. Durban Collegians are runners-up, Crusaders third, Old Boys fourth, Zululand fifth, Harlequins seventh and Jaguars eighth.

The battle up front at Woodburn on Saturday could decide the PMB derby — both packs have been dominant this season — although Collegians have a very useful backline and here they might hold the edge on what has been Varsity’s Achilles heel on a number of occasions.

That said, Varsity are battle-hardened campaigners in a higher division of rugby and that alone suggests they should have the goods to overpower Collegians over 80 minutes.

Meanwhile, Maritzburg put in a good performance against Durban Collegians in the Starlite U19 Cup in going down 30-16 against the likely champions.

In the early match at Woodburn, Rovers edged Harlequins 25-23 in a pulsating encounter.

Maritzburg went ahead when Jason Fraser smashed his way across the tryline for Matthew Mitchell to convert. Then Andrew Hayworth raced almost half the length of the field before Mitchell added the extra points, and a big upset against the likely tournament winners was on the cards.

Stung by the setback, Collegians scored two goals for 14-14 before Mitchell landed a penalty goal (two points in this competition) for PMB to go into half-time 16-14 in front.

The turning point came in the third quarter when PMB lost Andile Dlamini to concussion, yet the brave local lads hung on to their two-point lead and, with five minutes left, the upset looked nearly complete. But backline general Mitchell, who marshalled the troops so well on attack and defence, had his kneecap dislocated in going for a scything break and was forced to call it a day.

The Durban Collegians lads took full advantage of the disruption in the locals’ defensive line in that closing five and engineered two goals as PMB struggled to manage their backline.



Prem Div: Rovers 37 Old Boys 7; Saders 15 Dbn Coll 38; Jaguars 34 PMB Varsity 36; Quins 10 Zululand 29. Reserves: Rovers 53 OB 3; Saders 17 Dbn Coll 17; Jags 0 PMB Varsity 84; Quins 0 Zululand 86. U19: Rovers 25 Quins 24; Dbn Coll 30 Maritzburg 16.


Saturday – Murray Cup: PMB Varsity vs PMB Collegians (Woodburn Stadium 3.30 pm, seconds at 2 pm); Hillcrest vs Rovers; Toti vs D Coll; South Coast vs Jags; Quins vs Newcastle/Ladysmith; Old Boys vs Piet Retief; Vryheid vs Zululand; Ballito vs Crusaders.

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