The Riversmead South Coast Warriors showed fighting spirit but ultimately went down 24-15 to hosts Hillcrest in their final First Division game of the season on Friday.
The result saw the Warriors finish second in the South Section and thus relinquish the crown they won last year.
Prior to Friday’s game, the Warriors travelled to Westville for a crunch clash in which the winner would top the log. With the big forward packs hitting each other hard and both being exceptional defensive sides, it was a perfect day to watch club rugby.
The game was closely-contested with the half time score 10-5 to the Warriors. Towards the end of the game, Westville edged into a 12-10 lead. The visitors then lost focus, which saw Westville score two quick tries to win the game 26-10.
The Warriors then returned home for a battle against Ballito. Coach Juan van der Berg struggled to put a competitive team on the field due to serious injuries.
Star lock Lunga Madlala (ribs), Cameron Camp (shoulder), Donovan Horne (concussion) and Patrick Chappel (shoulder) were just some of the casualties who were unavailable for selection.
The Warriors, however, rallied and stormed to an 81-0 win with a great display of running rugby. The Warriors second team needed a good win to end the season on a high and did just that, beating Ballito 24-10.
Friday’s fixture in Hillcrest was played on a misty and cold field. Win or lose, the Warriors would finish second in the league.
Management had to think outside the box, resulting in veteran hooker Chris Mitchell moving to centre and experienced prop Lourens Stapelberg to lock.
The team took some time to adjust to the new combinations and game plan and at half time, Hillcrest held a 14-3 lead.
The Warriors received two yellow cards in the second half and had to play with 13 men for 10 minutes. They dug deep and scored through Dylan Kroon and Juan Strydom to edge into a 15-14 lead with a couple of minutes to go before Hillcrest regained the lead with a penalty.
The Warriors threw the kitchen sink at the hosts in search of the win but an intercept try sealed the deal for Hillcrest. Man of the Match honours went to Khaya Siqwayi (forwards) and Donovon Jonker (backline).
The Warriors thank their fans and sponsors Rivermead Farm, Status Panelbeaters, Kencrete and Maser Security for their support, and will now shift their focus to the Murray Cup.