Gardens were crowned worthy champions after beating PE Harlequins 27-13 in the EP Rugby Grand Challenge final played in slippery conditions at the Central City Stadium in Uitenhage last night.
The final was rescheduled after match officials had been unable to clear the Kemsley Park field following a pitch invasion after the main curtain- raiser on Saturday.
There were no such problems last night, as Gardens turned on the charm to cruise to a comfortble victory and their first Grand Challenge title.
Gardens came out firing and were rewarded with a penalty after a high tackle on outside centre Kirwan Ceasar.
Fullback Ryan Brown added the three points to put the Uitenhage side up 3-0 in the opening five minutes.
Three minutes later, Harlequins replied with a drop goal from flyhalf Liam Bosman to put his side level.
In the 18th minute, a Gardens lineout in the Harlequins’ 22 was followed by a driving maul, which saw eighth man Nathal Forbes crash over for the opening try of the game.
Ten minutes later, Harlequins replied through the boot of fullback Erwin Williams to cut the deficit to 10-6. Gardens counterattacked two minutes later as right wing Ketchim Denino crossed the line for the game’s second try.
The second half resumed with Harlequins on the attack. It took three scrums and six phases in the Gardens 22 before referee Sindile Ngcese called for a penalty try in the 49th minute, which was converted by Williams to make the score 17-13.
Gardens, however, replied almost immediately through flank Collin Webb, who crossed the line to cancel out the Harlequins try.
Gardens ran in their fourth try of the game with only five minutes left as lock Felix Marvin took a quick tap to cross the tryline. Gardens will now look to conquer East London Police on Saturday in the Gold Cup.