Griffons, Boland in stalemate
Brendon April (Gallo Images)
The Down Touch Griffons and Regent Boland Cavaliers both scored four tries in their thrilling 26-26 (halftime 14-5) draw in the Absa Currie Cup first division match played at Boland Stadium in Wellington on Friday afternoon.
The first quarter of the match was devoid of anything worth writing home about with a break by Griffons flyhalf Franna du Toit the only standout moment.
He bamboozled his way through the Boland defence and was held up over the line. Cavaliers winger Brendon April scored the opening try after carving through the Griffons' ranks. The touchline conversion by flyhalf Len Olivier was wide and the hosts were 5-0 up after 21 minutes of play.
After sustained pressure flanker Martin Sithole barged his way over the line and Du Toit converted to hand the Griffons the lead after 25 minutes. Barely five minutes later burly centre Japie Nel dotted down in the right-hand corner with Du Toit converting from the touchline.
The visitors led 14-5 at that stage and when the Griffons went over in the corner it was only Television Match Official Shaun Veldsman which saved their blushes, ruling that the ball had been lost forward. The two teams went into the halftime break with the scores unchanged and it was the Griffons who looked in charge.
Nel continued where he and his teammates left off in the first half and broke the line to set speedy winger Norman Nelson away for a try with just over five minutes gone in the second half.
Du Toit kept his perfect kicking record and the warning bells began ringing for the Cavaliers with the visitors leading 21-5.
Prop Rossouw Kruger went over the line from close range and fullback Eric Zana converted the difficult kick to narrow the gap, giving the home crowd something to cheer about.
The Griffons responded well and set out to close out the match and Joubert Engelbrecht backed himself to go over for the bonus point try.
Despite Engelbrecht failing to convert his own try the Griffons stretched their lead to 26-12 and Boland had to dig deep going into the final stretch of the game.
Boland set up camp on the Griffons' tryline and were rewarded when April scored his second try after Braam Gerber had created the space with a good pass.
Zana banged over the conversion and suddenly it was only a converted try which separated the teams at 26-19.
Boland threw the proverbial kitchen sink at the Griffons and April capped off a superb individual display by completing his hat-trick of tries with Zana also kicking his third conversion.
With the scores tied at 26-26 referee Tiaan Jonker ended the match before anyone could burgle the result for their team.
Regent Boland Cavaliers – Tries: Brendon April (3), Rossouw Kruger; Conversions: Eric Zana (3).
Down Touch Griffons – Tries: Martin Sithole, Japie Nel, Norman Nelson, Joubert Engelbrecht; Conversions: Franna du Toit (3).