Quintin van Jaarsveld
The Riversmead South Coast Warriors secured a 39-19 win over Westville Old Boys at Douglas Mitchell Sports Grounds on Saturday to clinch the First Division South Section title.
The Uvongo-based side had one hand on the crown heading into the clash as they enjoyed a four-point cushion over second-placed Hillcrest at the top of the table.
However, they still had to seal the deal by beating a game Westville side who had pushed them close in their previous encounter.
It was evident that the Warriors were fully focused on finishing the job and they did just that as they ran in six tries.
Scrumhalf Nico Smuts set the tone when he kicked into space and collected the ball to score a brilliant individual try to open the Warriors’ account.
Right wing Xander Lourens also scored a scorcher as he side-stepped his way over the chalk. Flanks Cameron Camp and Dawie Durrheim, flyhalf Brandt Fields and outside centre Yonela Baleni also got in on the act.
Fieldts added three conversions and a penalty as the Warriors secured their first First Division South Section title since 2014.
Man of the Match honours went to Camp (forwards) and Donovan Horne (backline).
“It was a very physical game…the most physical game we have played all season,” captain Chris Mitchell told eHowzit.
“The chaps knew we had one last hurdle to climb to secure the title. Westville had the best defensive record this year and for us to put up 39 points showed the boys came out to prove a point.
“It’s an awesome feeling to win the league. It’s been a while since we have won it and it’s a good stepping stone for our future goals.”
It was a two horse race for First Division South Section supremacy this season with the Warriors and Hillcrest a cut above the rest. After two seasons in the Premier Division, the Warriors were out to make a statement and make their return to First Division rugby short-lived.
Mitchell feels they made good strides this year, saying, “I would love to say it was a perfect season, but after the loss to Hillcrest early in the season, we have only gotten better.
“We went from only playing first-half rugby to only playing second-half rugby, but we ended the season playing 80-minute rugby, so we are growing in strength and that’s all I can ask for.”
The Warriors will meet First Division North Section winners Piet Retief in a curtain-raiser to the Currie Cup clash between the Sharks and the Pumas at Kings Park on 7 September for the Dewar Shield.
Clinch the beautiful trophy and the Warriors will achieve their 2018 goal of regaining a place in the Premier Division.
Meanwhile, the second team also ended the season on a high by shocking their log-leading Westville counterparts in a thrilling match.
The hosts showed heart as they overcame having to play with 14 men for 30 minutes to claim a hard-earned 34-19 win.
50/50 passes let them down at times but they nevertheless enjoyed a 17-5 lead at the interval. They had a good start to the second half, however, the match was turned on its head when flyhalf Wesley Nyman was red-carded for foul play in the 50th-minute.
The determined second XV refused to let the match slip and defended like Trojans to hand Westville their first loss of the season and maintain their perfect home record.
The try-scorers for the home side were Jacques Coetzee, Nhlanthla Lushaba, Graeme Bester, forwards Man of the Match KV Fatyela and backline Man of the Match Keith Chiwara.
Chiwara kicked a penalty and converted two of the five tries, with Diego Storm slotting another conversion.
Head coach Gromingo Mzunga said, “It was a great performance by the boys and a very entertaining match to watch. I’m very proud of the boys – they played their hearts out and gave it their best.”
Consultant coach MG Roscher added, “We’re very proud of the boys – they really showed guts to stay in the game and did their best. Hopefully next year we can take the league.”
Next up for the Warriors is the David vs Goliath-style Murray Cup competition.
The competition pits First Division clubs and Moor Cup teams against each other and kicks off this weekend. A draw later this week will determine who the Warriors will welcome to Uvongo on Saturday.