Spring Rose could not script a fairytale ending to an historic televised opening match in the 2014 Cell C Community Cup, leaving their namesakes, Roses United, to provide the first-round fireworks with a famous win over one of the tournament favourites.
Defending champions Gap Management Despatch beat Spring Rose, their arch-rivals from New Brighton, 24-6 at the WJ de Wet Stadium on Saturday to kick off the second edition of SARU's official national club championship for non-university clubs, thanks to 14 points from the boot of flyhalf Monty Dumond.
But it was Roses United's shock 27-26 victory in Wellington over last year's bronze medallists, G5 Brakpan, that has already set the cat amongst the pigeons in Pool C.
And in Pool A's other big match, 3000 fans packed the D'Almeida Stadium in Mossel Bay to see Barbarians exact revenge over Bridgton for their last-second loss in last year's SWD Premier League final, with a five-try, 32-12 victory over their arch-rivals from Oudtshoorn.
Elsewhere, 2013 runners-up Jonsson College Rovers showed their intentions in no uncertain terms with a polished 85-0 victory over Welkom at Kings Park 3 in Durban, in which scrumhalf Shannon Rick scored a hat-trick, centres Kyle Wilkinson and Quinton Crocker each notched a brace, and fullback Jors Dannhauser and flyhalf Chris Micklewood scored 20 points apiece.
Meanwhile, Rovers' main rivals in Pool B, Roodepoort, needed a late penalty to beat a spirited Bloemfontein Crusaders side 19-17 at Rand Leases Sports Ground.
There were solid wins in Pool D for newcomers Shumba Ferros, who beat off the challenges of Boland's Wesbank 33-20 at Puma Stadium in Emalahleni thanks to two tries from wing Pule Sibiya, while another of the title favourites, Rustenburg Impala, were made to sweat for a hard-fought 29-17 victory over fellow miners Aveng Moolmans Sishen. Wing Berty Visser crossing twice and centre Stevie Meyer doing likewise for the much-improved visitors.
But it was Roses United's win at Pelican Park, together with debutants Kaufela Boksburg's five-try, 42-13 away win in Polokwane against BB Truck Noordelikes – in which flyhalf Ashley Buchler scored 17 points – that has set up an intriguing next few rounds in Pool C. Brakpan now have a bye before their historic televised clash on Thursday 20 March (SuperSport 1 & HD, 18h00) against their fierce East Rand rivals Boksburg – a match that has suddenly taken on added significance given yesterday's results.
A win for Boksburg would set them up well to qualify for the Easter Championships at their first attempt, while Brakpan must win to keep their hopes alive.
Full Results, Round 1:
Gap Management Despatch (13) 24 – Tries: Jaco Bekker, Billy Mentoor. Conversion: Monty Dumond. Penalties: Dumond (4).
Spring Rose (0) 6 – Penalties: Thulani Meki (2).
Mossel Bay Barbarians (13) 32 – Tries: Alvizo Erasmus, Logan Hendricks, Jerome Fillies, Jaco Arendse, Wahlon Antony. Conversions: Morne Buis (2). Penalty: Buis.
Bridgton (8) 13 – Tries: Enzo Erasmus, Adriaan Booysen. Penalty: Booysen.
Jonsson College Rovers (38) 85 – Tries: Kyle Wilkinson (2), Chris Micklewood, Jean Pretorius, Jors Dannhauser, Quinton Crocker (2), Warrick Venter, Kelvin Adam, Shannon Rick (3), Nikolai Blignaut. Conversions: Dannhauser (5), Micklewood (5).
E-Car Welkom (0) 0
Roodepoort 19, Bloemfontein Crusaders 17
Roses United (15) 27, G5 Metals Brakpan (19) 26
BB Truck Noordelikes (8) 13 – Tries: Johan de Beer, Ricardo Varela. Penalty: Zander Byleveldt.
Kaufela Boksburg (23) 42 – Tries: Wayne Havenga, Ashwill Adams, Juan Bester, Karel Vermeulen, Ferdie Erasmus. Conversions: Ashley Buchler (4). Penalties: Buchler (3).
Shumba Ferros (10) 33 – Tries: Tommy Collen, Pule Sibiya (2). Conversions: Dewald Pieters (3). Penalties: Pieters (4).
Wesbank (15) 20 – Tries: Salmon Coetzee (2), Nadius Solomons, Dashton Wellman.
Rustenburg Impala (22) 29 – Tries: Leon du Plessis, Berty Visser (2), Victor Joubert. Conversions: Naas Olivier (3). Penalty: Olivier (1).
Aveng Moolmans Sishen (10) 17 – Tries: Stevie Meyer (2). Conversions: AJ Bloem, Brendon Coetzer.