The Valke claimed their first win of the season as they held on to defeat the Border Bulldogs 34-29 (half-time 24-10) in their Absa Currie Cup First Division match at the Barnard Stadium in Kempton Park on Friday.
The hosts ended their losing run of four matches but it was a close run thing as Border narrowed the gap to just two points with 14 minutes left in the match when replacement lock Brian Shabangu crashed over for a converted try.
But Valke flyhalf Juan Kotze, who ended with a personal tally of 14 points, made sure of the victory with a 75th minute penalty.
Both teams picked up a bonus point for scoring four tries while Border claimed another bonus point for losing by less than seven points.
The Valke made a fine start to the game and they raced into a 14-0 lead after 19 minutes thanks to converted tries from eighthman JP Mostert and lock Rinus Bothma.
The Bulldogs kept themselves in the contest thanks to a 21st-minute try from right wing Andrew van Wyk and a penalty from flyhalf Niell Jacobs.
But the Valke made sure that they went to the half-time break in a comfortable position after a converted try from lock Johan de Bruin and a penalty from Kotze.
The hosts held a 14-point lead at the break but the Bulldogs, who were coming off a 22-20 victory over the Down Touch Griffons, launched a second-half fightback that saw them narrow the gap to just two points.
Loosehead prop Kwezilokusa Mkhafu barrelled his way over for a converted try just two minutes after the resumption before lock Nomani Tonga went over for another converted score just four minutes later.
However, the Valke struck back when outside centre Coert Cronje dotted down in the 59th minute before Shabangu’s try closed the gap to just two points once again.
But it was not to be for the brave Bulldogs, who could not breach the Valke’s defence again.
Valke – Tries: JP Mostert, Rinus Bothma, Johan de Bruin, Coert Cronje; Conversions: Juan Kotze (4); Penalties: Kotze (2).
Border Bulldogs – Tries: Andrew van Wyk, Kwezilokusa Mkhafu, Nomani Tonga, Brian Shabangu; Conversions: Niell Jacobs (2), Shane Spring; Penalty: Jacobs.