The visiting Valke maintained their push for a place in the knockout stages of the Absa Currie Cup First Division with a gritty 32-25 (halftime 27-15) victory over the Boland Cavaliers at Boland Stadium in Wellington on Saturday afternoon.
As has been the case for much of the season the Bolanders started slowly and it was the team from up north that scored first. Captain and flanker Jacques Verwey led from the front and opened the scoring for his team after only a few minutes.
Boland narrowed the gap to 7-3 with a penalty shortly thereafter but the Valke were in a dominant mood during the opening exchanges.
A superb break by the Valke could only be illegally thwarted by Boland fullback Eric Zana and he was sent to the bin by referee Pro Legoete.
Legoete also awarded a penalty try to add to Boland’s woes and a second try shortly thereafter saw the Valke race into a 19-3 lead.
The hosts were in real danger of being humiliated on their own field. The latter of the five pointers was finished by fullback Carlyle Hendricks but credit must be given equally among the five or six of his teammates whom contributed to the score courtesy of slick handling and good running.
Burly centre Albert Trytsman barged his way over minutes later and the conversion by Cavaliers flyhalf Morne Hugo made in 19-10 after 24 minutes of nonstop action.
The scoreboard was kept ticking over courtesy of a long-range penalty by Valke flylhalf Juan Kotze, who had earlier knocked over two conversions.
The match continued to see-saw and a Boland driving maul was held up over the try line before Zana atoned for his earlier indiscretion with a well taken try during the following passage of play.
Hendricks added his second to take the Valke out to a 27-15 lead and that is how things remained at the halftime interval.
Boland came out guns blazing after halftime and it was only an exceptional defensive effort by the Valke that kept them out. There was a moment of controversy as one of the Cavaliers’ forwards claimed to have scored a try against the uprights but the referee was unsighted and the try was subsequently not awarded.
Big lock and home team captain Victor “Strand” Kruger finally got a reward for his team’s effort when he scored with 58 minutes gone. Zana had taken over the kicking duties but was unable to add the vital conversion.
It was the self-same Zana who made it a two point game with less than six minutes left in the match after he took a pass from Trytsman near the Valke try line. Yet again he missed the conversion and the hosts were left ruing their best chance of the match.
Awaking from a slumber of nearly 40 minutes the Valke secured the victory with a driving maul which saw replacement hooker Bruce Muller go over near the left-hand corner. Hendricks missed the conversion attempt and this meant Boland at least collected a losing bonus point.
The victory saw the Valke go one step closer to claiming fourth place in the First Division, as they now lead Boland by five log points with two rounds remaining.
The Cavaliers must travel to George and beat the SWD Eagles on Saturday and hope the Down Touch Griffons do the same at Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park.
Valke – Tries: Jacques Verwey , Penalty try, Carlyle Hendricks (2). Conversions: Jaun Kotze (3). Penaltes: Kotze.