Semi-finals spots up for Grabs!

The elusive EC Super 12 trophy

It is the last matches in the round-robin phase of the Eastern Cape Super 12 Championship to determine which teams go through to the semi-finals. All four matches are crucial with every result of paramount importance.

Gardens kept their hopes alive with a 23-14 beating of Park to elevate them to 13 points and in third position in Group A. Park dropped to second on 14 points. Star of Hope moved to the summit with a resounding 36-7 hammering of Buffs. They have completed their allocated matches and sits on 18 points. It is a three-horse race for the two qualifying spots. Both Park and Gardens have a game in hand and taking all permutations into consideration should seal the deal with victories in their last matches this weekend. Points differential could be crucial as all three teams can end up on 18 points. Currently Park have the best ratio with a +54 points difference, Star of Hope on +47 with Gardens on +46. Taking the current trend in results, Park should beat Ntlaza Lions and take all five points on offer which could put them on top at 19 points. Buffs have lost all their matches thus far and a bonus point win could take Gardens to 18 points and with that win a better points-for ratio could eclipse Star of Hope chances of going through. Even if Park wins and get four points, their points difference is superior than that of Star of Hope and Gardens.

In Group B, Swallows made sure of being the first team to qualify with a 32-15 mauling of Police. The Madrid train is huffing and puffing and have lost all their round-robin matches in a disgraceful campaign, considering the high standards they have set in the past. Past winners and losing finalist last year, the Bobbies is a shadow of themselves. Harlequins push for semis took a positive note with a 16-7 win over Kruisfontein to push them to 14 points, level with Kruisfontein, but with a game in hand. Despatch 36-16 win over Berlin Tigers pushed them into contention to second spot on 15 points. It’s do or die when Harlies face Tigers with a win crucial to guarantee qualification. Despatch will face a tougher ask when unbeaten Swallows pays them a visit, who have looked the part for silverware this season. A win for Despatch can put them on 19 points but a bonus point win could seal the deal for them on 20 points. Harlequins must beat Tigers and hope Swallows do them a favour by beating Despatch. In the other match, Ntlaza Lions defeated Breakers 21-13 with both teams only playing for pride. Come 5pm Saturday the semi-finals line-ups should be decided. Who will join Swallows, is it Park, Star of Hope, Gardens, Harlequins or Despatch?

Maxwell Levine

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