The long awaited new Eastern Province Sedru Regional League finally kicked off on Saturday 6 April, after the final preparations were made a fortnight ago. Matches were played at Miki Yili, Port Alfred and in Klipfontein.
In a perfect warm day for rugby at the Miki Yili A field, the Old Collegians (OC) and the Easterns sides locked horns in their local Derby. OC regained their bragging rights against Easterns after they also beat them in last year’s encounter. The game, as expected, started at great pace and was played at a very high tempo. Both teams are known for their balls skills and running rugby.
Both teams did not disappoint in providing some entertaining running rugby at the end of the day, and scored some exciting tries. On the other hand, Easterns’ discipline let them down, receiving a yellow card in the match. The Easterns side also made a lot of unforced errors and missed a few scoring opportunities.
The clash was evenly matched throughout, but it was OC who made more use of their opportunities in the first half. OC scored two tries in the form of Siyabonga Mahapi and Bill Jokani in the first half to hand them a healthy 14-0 lead at the break.
Easterns came back strongly in the second half and played more like a unit. This was evident when they set up good constructive mauls and phases. Easterns’ backline looked dangerous with ball in hand whilst their bigger forwards gained much needed territory. It was an evenly match affair and contest upfront in the scrums but OC just got the edge in the line outs.
Easterns hit back with a fine try by fullback Bulelani Maguma while Siyabulela Gebuza converted to make it 14-7. Minutes later, Mahapi slotted a 40m drop goal to extend the lead to 17-7, while Gebuza replied with a converted try for Easterns, reducing the lead to 17-14. OC had a chance to clinch the game when Mahapi missed a clear scoring opportunity as he knocked the ball with no one in front of him. Easterns continued to launch waves after waves of attacks at OC in search for the winner, but the defense stood firm. The much anticipated Derby ended in a well deserved 17-14 win for OC.
Kowie United were also in action against Wanderers, in Port Alfred, with the home side in full control from the outset and running the ball from all corners of the field. On an almost full capacity Station Hill field in Port Alfred and hot weather conditions, the home side produced a one sided dominant performance.
Kowie’s skilful and speedy backs were dangerous on attack and scored the majority of the seven tries. Wanderers defense was lacking and could not keep up with the pace of the home side. Kowie lead 29-0 at halftime.
The home side ran riot around Wanderers and played with enormous confidence in the second half and scored three further tries. It was one way traffic as the home side dominated. Wanderers scored a consolation try deep in the second half but it was all too little too late, as the hosts earned their 34-0 victory.
Winter Rose did not pitch for their fixture against Klipfontein and handed the home side maximum (5) points. Swallows also did not pitch at the Mickey Yili B field and saw Lily White walk away with 5 points.