SUPERB goal-kicking in difficult conditions from Evergreens flyhalf Leegan Moos gave his team a 22-15 victory over One Logix United Bulk Villagers Worcester in the televised opening match of the 2015 Cell C Community Cup on Saturday.
In driving rain and in front of a capacity crowd at the Pacaltsdorp Sports Grounds outside George, Moos’s five penalties and a conversion were the difference between the sides as the SWD champions won the much-anticipated Western Cape derby to go top of Pool C on points difference after the opening round.
Elsewhere, there were wins for defending champions Rustenburg Impala, Kempston Old Selbornians, Raiders, Pretoria Police, Hamiltons, Gap Management Despatch and Wesbank on a weekend characterised by large crowds and come-from-behind victories.
In Pool A, Impala had to fight back from a 10-0 halftime deficit to get the better of newcomers Don’s Pawn Shop Port Elizabeth Police, the Rustenburgers eventually scoring five tries, including a brace to wing Morné Jooste, to run out 36-22 winners to top the group.
In Pool A’s other match, Kempston Old Selbornians, who finished eighth overall last year, also came from behind to edge Western Province qualifiers Durbanville-Bellville 22-14 in front of a 1,000-strong crowd at Kempston Park.
Both PE Police and Durbell have home matches this coming weekend, against Old Selbornians and East Rand Cranes Springs respectively, and will have to register wins to stay in the play-off hunt.
In Pool B, Raiders wing Gardener Nechironga scored the only points of the second half to give the Johannesburg side an invaluable come-from-behind 20-16 away win over Berlesell Bloemfontein Crusaders at the Clive Solomon Stadium in Heidedal, although it it Pretoria Police who top the group after a six-try, 40-17 win over BB Truck & Tractor Noordelikes in Pretoria.
This weekend sees 2013 silver medallists Jonsson College Rovers open their campaign while Crusaders will want to grab a home win against the Pretoria Bobbies.
Last year’s bronze medallists Hamiltons required a rearguard effort in Kathu against Aveng Moolmans Sishen, the Cape Town side escaping with a 25-24 victory thanks to a 63rd-minute converted try by flanker Niel Cleghorn, which sees them second behind Evergreens on points difference.
Hamiltons will now host Vaseline Wanderers on Saturday in a match to be televised live on SuperSport 1 & HD (kick-off 14h30).
And in Pool D, Gap Management Despatch, the 2013 champions, showed their intent with the weekend’s biggest win, a 69-32 away victory over J&F Reclaiming Rovers Welkom, which included a hat-trick to replacement Kalvano King and 24 points to new flyhalf Francois Nel, including nine conversions. Nel’s efforts see him top the tournament point-scoring charts after Round 1.
In the group’s other match, Wesbank saw off Pumas champions Shumba Ferros 32-13 in front of a crowd of 1,500 to set up an intriguing second-round match in Despatch this Saturday.
Full Results, Round 1:
Kempston Old Selbornians (10) 22 – Tries: Bradley Birkholtz, Jannie Rossouw, Saneliso Ngoma. Conversions: Dale Sabbagh (2). Penalty: Sabbagh.
Durbanville-Bellville (14) 14 – Tries: Angus Cleophas, Garth April. Conversions: Dane Sherratt (2).
Rustenburg Impala (0) 36 – Tries: Morné Jooste (2), Leon du Plessis, Wilco de Wet, Willie Kok. Conversions: De Wet (4). Penalty: De Wet.
Don’s Pawn Shop PE Police (10) 22 – Tries: Fabian Juries, Juan Smit, Sebastian Loxsen. Conversions: Smit (2). Penalty: Smit.
Berlesell Bloemfontein Crusaders (16) 16 – Try: Blaine Tlhapane. Conversion: Griffin Colby. Penalties: Colby (3).
Raiders (13) 20 – Tries: Christopher Juries, Gardener Nechironga. Conversions: Arno Coetzee (2). Penalties: Coetzee (2).
Pretoria Police (21) 40 – Tries: Birtie Powell, Jerry Sefoko, Johannes Rademeyer (2), Nico Luus, Rayno Wasserman. Conversions: Dillon Laubscher (5).
BB Truck & Tractor Noordelikes (10) 17 – Tries: Johannes Muller, Sias van Wyk. Conversions: Arno Venter, JP Vermeulen. Penalty: Alwyn Olivier.
Aveng Moolmans Sishen (11) 24 – Tries: Jamie Zwiegelaar, Prince Mofokeng. Conversion: Tiaan le Roux. Penalties: Le Roux (3). Drop goal: Le Roux.
Hamiltons (10) 25 – Tries: Morgan Newman, Niel Cleghorn, Sebastian Ferreira. Conversions: Shane Vallender (2). Penalties: Vallender, Jody Burch.
Evergreens (10) 22 – Try: Gerschwin Muller. Conversion: Leegan Moos. Penalties: Moos (5).
One Logix United Bulk Villagers Worcester (10) 15 – Tries: Louis Carstens, TC Botha. Conversion: Shandro Issel. Penalty: Issel.
J&F Reclaiming Rovers Welkom (13) 32 – Tries: Shaun Nieuwenhuyzen (3), Wayne Ludick. Conversions: Tiaan van Wyk (3). Penalty: Van Wyk. Drop goal: Van Wyk.
Gap Management Despatch (34) 69 – Tries: Kalvano King (3), Michael Vermaak (2), Trichardt van Tonder, Elroy Ligman, Elrich Kok, Cameron Jacobs. Conversions: Francois Nel (9). Penalties: Nel (2).
Wesbank (12) 32 – Tries: Chrislyn van Schalkwyk (2), Salmon Coetzee, Sedwell Diedericks. Conversions: Dashton Wellman (3). Penalty: Wellman. Drop goal: Wellman.
Shumba Ferros (3) 13 – Tries: Pule Sibiya, Willem Kotze. Penalty: Jan Adriaan van der Merwe.
Round 2 – Sat 28 February (16h00 unless otherwise stated):
Pool A –
Don’s Pawn Shop PE Police vs Kempston Old Selbornians (Kemsley Park, Port Elizabeth)
Durbanville-Bellville vs East Rand Cranes Springs (Durbanville-Bellville Rugby Club, Cape Town)
Pool B –
Jonsson College Rovers vs BB Truck & Tractor Noordelikes (KP10, Kings Park, Durban, 14h15)
Berlesell Bloemfontein Crusaders vs Pretoria Police (Clive Solomon Stadium, Heidedal)
Pool C –
One Logix United Bulk Villagers Worcester vs Aveng Moolmans Sishen (Boland Park, Worcester)
Hamiltons vs Vaseline Wanderers (Stephan Oval, Green Point, 14h30 – live on SuperSport 1/HD)
Pool D –
GAP Management Despatch vs Wesbank (WJ de Wet Stadium, Despatch)
SA Home Loans Durban Collegians vs J&F Reclaiming Rovers Welkom (KP10, Kings Park, Durban)
Byes: Rustenburg Impala (A), Raiders (B), Evergreens (C), Ferros (D)