Sharks defeat gritty Griquas
Butch James (Gallo Images)
Kimberley - The Sharks secured a win against the Griquas for the first time in three years, after they beat the hosts 25-24 in their Currie Cup encounter on Saturday.
The visitors last managed a win in Kimberley back in 2009, but did enough on the day to beat the hosts in a game that never really delivered, as far as the hype factor is concerned.
The Sharks started at a frantic pace and progressed straight from the kick off to Griquas half. The hosts infringed and the visitors fly half Butch James kicked the resulting penalty.
Griquas are traditionally a side that never let up and the hosts recovered quickly. They progressed nicely to five metres from the Sharks goal line, with full back PJ Vermeulen breaking his ankle in the process.
Griquas kept their cool after losing one of their key players to injury and put the Sharks under immense pressure.
Finally, that paid off when the Sharks infringed and fly half Francois Brummer kicked a penalty to draw the scores level.
Brummer was called on again shortly thereafter and kicked another penalty with ease to give the hosts the lead with a little more than 20 minutes remaining in the first half.
Griquas discipline against the Golden Lions last week was their undoing and a lack thereof also gave the Sharks ample opportunity to kick at goal.
James kicked his second penalty goal of the afternoon in the 22nd minute to level the scores at six points all.
Brummer put the hosts in the lead once again, after the Sharks infringed twice in as many minutes.
The Sharks went on to score their first try of the afternoon via winger Sizo Maseko. James failed to convert, leaving the visitors one point short.
Griquas then had the last say when flanker Marnus Schoeman burst over from a rolling maul to score the hosts first try. Brummer however could not convert.
The Sharks got the second half underway with a penalty by James to reduce the deficit to three points, but a knock on by scrum half Charl McLeod gave the hosts a good attacking opportunity.
Griquas could not capitalise immediately, but scored soon thereafter when flanker Burger Schoeman burst over from a heel against the head. Brummer converted.
Replacement fly half Fred Zeilinga kicked a penalty in the 61st minute to bring the Sharks within seven points, but the visitors still had plenty of work to do. Zeilinga later kicked another penalty, bringing his side within striking distance.
The Sharks kept the momentum and capitalised when Wiehan Herbst scored the winning try.
Griquas - Tries: Marnus Schoeman, Burger Schoeman; Conversion: Francois Brummer; Penalties: Brummer (4)
Sharks - Tries: Sizo Maseko, Wiehan Herbst; Penalties: Butch James (3), Fred Zeilinga (2)