The Down Touch Griffons kept their slim playoff hopes alive thanks to a hard-earned 17-6 (halftime 7-6) win over the Valke in their Vodacom Cup North Section match at the North West Stadium in Welkom on Friday.
The win was the Griffons’ third from six games and they moved to fourth in the North Section. However, their position in a tenuous one as other results over the weekend could well see them tumble back down the table.
The Valke, with only one more group match left before the final playoff teams are decided, are out of the running for a quarterfinal place as they slumped to their fourth defeat in six games.
The Griffons were well-deserved winners of the contest as they ran in two tries without reply while the Valke could only respond with two penalties from flyhalf Jaun Kotze.
The match was played in heavy rain which did little to aid slick handling and, unsurprisingly, only one try was scored in each half.
It took the Griffons just nine minutes to open their account thanks to a try from Vuyo Mbotho, who played for the Border Bulldogs in last year’s Currie Cup First Division, when the right wing streaked over for a converted score.
However, the Valke kept themselves in the contest thanks to Kotze’s two penalties as they went to the break trailing 7-6.
But the Griffons opened up a commanding lead, 10 minutes in the second half, when replacement scrumhalf Oshwill Nortje sniped over for a try.
The home team’s flyhalf Hansie Graaf, last season’s Currie Cup First Division Player of the Year, converted Nortje’s try before adding a penalty eight minutes later to secure the victory.
DOWN TOUCH GRIFFONS – Tries: Oshwill Nortje, Vuyo Mbotho; Conversions: Hansie Graaff (2); Penalty: Graaf.
VALKE – Penalties Jaun Kotze (2).