It was almost fitting that it took 79 minutes of the final to determine the eventual winners of the inaugural Cell C Community Cup, but in the end it was GAP Despatch who ran out 26-24 winners over Jonsson College Rovers, courtesy of a last-gasp penalty on the hooter by their fullback Monty Dumond.
The veteran player had a 47-metre effort a minute earlier falling a couple of metres short, but when afforded another kick 45 metres out after Rovers had hands in the ruck, he slotted it as the buzzer sounded and he was mobbed by team mates.
Rovers had just retaken the lead three minutes earlier with a Greg Goosen penalty, but a last desperate surge by Despatch resulted in them giving Dumond his glory moment.
“We want to put Despatch back on the map and this is only the beginning,” said their captain, Elroy Ligman.
“We want to thank everyone for their effort and also Cell C and SARU for making this happen.”
Despatch hooker Giovano Fourie was named Player of the Tournament.
•It was Rovers who opened the scoring with a penalty by fullback Chris Micklewood, but Despatch found the way to the tryline first.
Livewire Marlon Lewis, who already kicked two dropped goals earlier in the tournament, showed some deft touches in scoring the opening try and although the conversion was missed, a very good try by Trichardt van Tonder saw the Eastern Cape side extending their lead to 10-3.
Rovers closed the gap with a try by Chris Jordaan and the successful conversion by Goosen drew the scores level. Despatch took the lead again with Jaco Swanepoel scoring and Dumond converting. Dumond traded penalties with Goosen, but a try on the buzzer cancelled out the Despatch lead. Sergio Torrens scored for the third time in as many matches to give his side the slightest of edges.
The second half was always going to be a tight affair. Rain started falling again and with the reality of what is at stake inhibiting play, it was left to the kickers to try and get field position and kick penalties.
Dumond was up first with this task and a long range effort in the 50th minute had his side in the lead again.
Micklewood pulled a drop goal attempt and Goosen only managed to hit the upright with their attempts in the 64th and 65th minutes.
Micklewood missed another long range effort with the ball just missing to the left.
Rovers kept plugging away at Despatch though and their hard work finally paid off when Goosen kicked a penalty right in front with six minutes left.
Dumond had a long range effort to win it for his team two minutes from time, but his 47-metre effort came up just short. But his last effort determined the home of the Gold Cup for the next year.
GAP Despatch 26 (20). Tries: Marlon Lewis, Trichardt van Tonder, Jaco Swanepoel. Conversion: Monty Dumond. Penalties: Dumond (3).
Jonsson College Rovers 24 (21). Tries: Chris Jordaan, Sergio Torrens. Conversion: Greg Goosen. Penalties: Chris Micklewood, Goosen (3).
A review of the earlier matches follows below:
East Rand Cranes Brakpan 58 (27), Rustenburg Impala 8 (5)
It was, rather unexpectedly, one-way traffic in the 3rd place final, with Brakpan smashing Rustenberg Impala.
One team came to play and the other one did not, something that was clear to see in the respective attitudes on attack and defence. Brakpan ran hard, with their backline very impressive and they tackled even harder, but unfortunately the same could not be said of the men from the platinum belt.
Regular midfielder playing fullback Franco Booysen, in particular, had a fantastic game. He broke at will, distributed very well and showed way too much class for the North West team. He also scored a well-deserved try near the end of the clash.
Unfortunately Impala showed very little to suggest that they had winning intentions in this match and were left chasing around the green and white jerseys of their opponents all afternoon.
Two tries in the first ten minutes reflected Brakpan’s intent and although Impala pulled one back though winger Nathan Fourie, it was all Brakpan after that.
A try just before the break took the lead to 27-5.
The second half was pretty much the same, as Brakpan ran riot. Their exceptional support play resulted in numerous flowing moves and they scored some great tries.
The East Rand men can certainly look back at a very impressive effort at the tournament.
East Rand Cranes Brakpan 58 (27). Tries: Roan Helberg, Wihan Dippenaar, Ulrich van Schalkwyk, Jacques Nieuwenhuis (2), Johan Veldtman, Franco Booysen. Conversions: Charl Nieuwenhuis (7). Penalties: Nieuwenhuis (3).
Rustenburg Impala 8 (5).Tries: Nathan Fourie. Penalty: Chanley Williams.
Durbanville-Bellville 30 (15), Pretoria Police 3 (3)
The Cape Town side ran out comfortable winners against their Pretoria opponents, outscoring them by five tries to nil, the last when Jody Reynecke scored in the corner after the final buzzer.
The Durbanville side always looked more settled with ball and hand and kept possession of it for longer and more productive spells.
Both teams had a slow start, with Durbell’s Liaan Scriven missing an early drop goal attempt and team mate Tiaan Radyn pulling a penalty attempt. Police’s Ruan van Loo also missed his first effort, but when Radyn was worked over by his side after 20 minutes, the scoreboard finally showed some reward.
Van Loo then slotted a penalty, but that was the last of his side’s points, as Durbell began squeezing them.
Their wide play was creating massive problems for Police and Mornè Meningke’s try was justification of that. Flanker Carel du Preez also broke through to give the Durbell side a deserved 15-3 lead at the break.
The second half was more of the same, with Police not industrious enough on attack. Durbell on the other hand, worked the ball through the hands with more patience. Tries at the beginning and end of the half confirmed their superiority on the day for Durbell.
“We have lost twice to Police in the past, so this was a good reward for our effort today. We are happy with what we achieved here,” Durbell captain, Marius White, said afterwards.
Durbell 30 (15). Tries: Mornè Menningke, Tiaan Radyn, Renier Marais, Carel du Preez, Jody Reynecke. Conversion: Radyn. Drop Goal: Isak Saayman.
Pretoria Police 3 (3). Penalty: Ruan van Loo.
Roodepoort 47 (18), Evergreens Pacaltsdorp 24 (10)
Roodepoort won their first match of the tournament against a plucky, but outclassed Evergreens side.
The Gauteng team had a strong start and scored in the opening minutes when prop Jaco Vermeulen bullied his way over the tryline. A successful conversion by fullback Steven Griffith and two penalties by the fullback confirmed the one sided traffic and when Jaun Shaw scored as well, Evergreens looked in big trouble.
But as the sun broke through, so did the fortunes of the home side. A great try by Leegan Moos, converted by brother C-Tan, gave life to a great fight back by the Pacaltsdorp side.
C-Tan kicked a penalty before the break to close the deficit even further.
Two quick tries by Evergreens changed the complexion of the match completely in the second half. First Christiaan Kruger used his power to burst over the line and then Moos his speed to send his brother away. The fullback (Leegan) ran almost 40 meters following a blistering counter-attack and off-loaded to his brother who scored and converted his own try.
This gave the home side the lead for the first time in the match (24-18).
Roodepoort responded well and retook the lead when no 8 Shaw crashed over for his second converted try. The Gautengers realised that they needed to keep the ball upfront and this produced another try by Swanepoel, extending their lead to 30-24.
Their third match in six days was clearly taking its toll on the Evergreens side and they allowed Roodepoort to score a couple of late tries though some tired defending.
Roodepoort 47 (18). Tries: Cliffie Vermaak, Hennie Oosthuizen, Jaco Vermeulen (2), Jaun Shaw (2). Conversions: Steven Griffiths (3). Penalties: Griffiths (2).
Evergreens 24 (10). Tries: Christiaan Kruger, Leegan Moos (2). Conversions: C-Tan Moos (3). Penalty: Moos.