Eastern Province Rugby Union club rugby champions, Gardens RFC, are are now Eastern Cape club rugby champions after defeating East Londo Police in Grahamstown last night.
The defending champions from Uitenhage did not it easy though, they were made to sweat by a stubborn and determined EL Police and the 6-3 scoreline is a true reflection of how this enounter. EL Police forced Gardens to defend for the greater part of the match but poor handling skills at critical parts of the field cost them the match.
But it was Gardens that drew the first blood midway through the first half with a well taken penalty from their young flyhalf sensation, Luciandre Theodore, who is slowly gaining reputation for his well educated boot after some concereted pressure from the Gardens forwards that forced police to commit the penalty.
Then EL Police responded by going on an offensive mood with their pack of forwards carrying the ball with vigour. Their captain Bonga Mntunjani and lock Sox Mkona were collosal in this aspect of their game and they were rewarded five minutes before break when they were given a penalty in front of the poles which was converted flyhalf skangele Mateza. It remaied like that into the halftime break.
The second half was a closely contested affair that nerly turned into a boring affair as both teams pushed for territorial dominance by employing a kicking game. for almost 15 minutes in the second half the game was dominated by kicking which at times turned to be a ping pong battle between the two flyhalfs. EL Police had opportunities to clinch the game when they were playing against 14-man after Gardens prop Ayanda Nogampula was yellow carded for punching, but they did not maximise on tat advantage.
Then Gardens pushed for one last time before the end of the match and were rewarded with a penanly, which Theodore colly slotted for a deserved 6-3 lead. Thats how is ended.
In the 3/4 place match, Spring rose RFC from New Brighton defeated progress by a 29-24 score margin, to end in the third spot of the cometition. Progress led throughout the match only to lose in the last querter and his has been the story of their game in the play-offs.