Innes Kritzinger scored 13 points to help the Down Touch Griffons win their Absa Currie Cup First Division basement battle against the Valke 50-35 (17-25) at North West Stadium in Welkom on Saturday.
The replacement scrumhalf, who was only on the field for 30 minutes, was in excellent form as he inspired a superb second-half turnaround by scoring a try and slotting over four conversions.
His effort added to seven other tries scored by the hosts and saw them to a 15-point win over the visitors, who remained bottom of the log.
But the Valke claimed all the plaudits after a Jongi Nokwe-inspired first half saw the former Springbok winger score two tries.
Centre Coert Cronje was first to cross the whitewash for the away side in the fourth minute, before the first of two drop goals by Jaun Kotze.
Griffons flanker Wilmar Groenewald, another scorer of a brace, opened his side’s account in the 12th minute, before Nokwe’s two tries during a five minute burst stretched the lead to 25-5 by the half-hour mark.
But the lively winger was forced off through injury in what turned out to be a crucial blow for the visitors.
Jeremy Jordaan and Derick van Heerden led the fightback for the Northern Free Staters with tries before the break as they trailed by eight.
After the restart, JC Roos stretched the lead with a penalty, but a Marnus Bredenhann score kept his side in touch.
The introduction of Kritzinger further lifted the hosts as Groenewald, Japie Nel, Werner Griesel and Kritzinger all crossed for tries in the final 23 minutes.
Substitute Willie Odendaal did manage a try in the mix for the Valke, but it turned out to be a consolation as they fell to a sixth loss of the season.
Down Touch Griffons – Tries: Wilmar Groenewald (2), Jeremy Jordaan, Derick van Heerden, Marnus Bredenhann, Japie Nel, Werner Griesel, Innes Kritzinger. Conversions: Tertuis Maarman, Kritzinger (4).
Valke – Tries: Coert Cronje, Jongi Nokwe (2), Willie Odendaal. Conversion: Jaun Kotze (2). JC Roos. Penalties: Roos. Drop Goals: Kotze (2).