ILL-DISCIPLINE stole the spotlight in the opening Cell C Community Cup rugby match at the WJ de Wet Stadium in Despatch at the weekend as the referee issued three yellow cards and a red when champions Gap Despatch beat rivals Spring Rose 24-6.
Despite the scoreline suggesting otherwise, Despatch were made to sweat for the victory as they started their title defence with a scrappy but effective performance.
Rose started the Pool A clash well, winning lineouts, turning balls over and forcing Despatch to concede penalties.
But playing against the wind made it difficult for the New Brighton outfit to gain territory despite dominating possession.
The hosts drew first blood through experienced flyhalf Monty Dumond who made amends for an 11th-minute penalty miss with a successful one three minutes later.
Despatch increased their lead in the 20th minute with a try by outside centre Jakobus Bekker. The try, which Dumond converted, came when the Rose fullback tried to run the ball out of his half but ran into a big hit.
This resulted in him dropping the ball backwards – allowing Bekker to kick it forward and win the race to the tryline.
Dumond added another penalty in the 30th minute to take his side to a 13-0 half- time lead.
Rose started the second half the stronger side but failed to capitalise when Despatch forward Ayanda Nogampula and Bekker were yellow-carded in the first 10 minutes of the half. The visitors only managed three points courtesy of a Thulani Meki penalty.
Rose captain Lubabalo Mpongoshe gave away a penalty and received a yellow card for a dangerous tackle. Dumond slotted it to make it 13-3 while still playing with 13 men. Meki replied with a penalty of his own.
Mpongoshe was at it again soon after serving his 10 minutes in the sin bin and committed another foul that earned him his marching orders. Dumond added the three points.
Rose threw everything at Despatch but the Cup’s No1-ranked team’s defence stood their ground and kept the visitors at bay.
Exciting Despatch winger Billy Mintoor completed the victory with an unconverted try two minutes from time.
ýMeanwhile, in the Eastern Cape Super 12 club rugby competition, Progress scored five tries and were awarded a penalty try to beat Walter Sisulu University 36-5 at the Uitenhage Central Field and advance to the semifinals.
Progress produced a flawless display and led 12-0 after 40 minutes.
In Zwide, African Bombers ran in four tries and sent champions Harlequins packing.
Both sides went into the clash not in the best of form and it was the hosts who led 12-6 at half time.
Whatever their coach said during the interval worked, as Bombers came back stronger to win 29-6 and send Quins back home with their tails between their legs.
In Rosedale, Gardens snatched a late converted try to register a hard-fought 23-15 win against Caltex Crusaders.
The young Saders outfit brought their A-game but were punished for a lapse in concentration after leading 12-10 at the break.
Kruisfontein crashed out after narrowly losing 17-13 to East London Police at the Police Park in Cambridge.
The physical encounter lived up to expectations as both sides came out guns blazing from the first minute.
The hosts led 12-6 at half time. – Mkhululi Ndamase