Old Miltonians (OMs) secured their third Intercity Rugby League victory yesterday by beating struggling Gweru Sports Club (GSC) in their backyard at Gweru Sports Club rugby field.
The game ended 34-16 in favor of the visitors much to the disappointment of Gweru home fans that had turned out to rally behind their team.
Old Miltonians (Elephants) Coach Paradzai Matsika was elated by the victory despite a few hiccups in their play, saying they have made a few improvements from their previous games.
“Yes we got the points, we got the win but our play was a bit scrappy around the scrum and the rucks and we really need to work on that. Generally I am happy we have improved from our previous games,” he said.
Matsika acknowledge a few players who were exceptional.
“Tight forward Mike Alimu played a brilliant game, Fullback Andrea Banda as well and special mention to Thamsanqa Dube who came off the bench and played quite brilliantly and of course our Eighth-man Jason Mackey.
But overally it was team work,” he said.
Gweru (Eagles) drew first blood in the 10th minute from a penalty kick brilliantly converted by Fly-half Denver Chidindi giving the home-side a three points lead.
In the 22nd minute Gweru winger Tawanda Chakani extended the lead by five points after making a dash from Gweru’s 22 meter box past the OMs’ defence all the way to the try-line.
Trailing eight nil, the visitors were not to be outdone as they put pressure on Gweru near the try-line which ultimately resulted in a penalty try against the Eagles on the 34th minute bringing the scores to 07-08, with Gweru still leading.
OMs muscular Prop Mike Alimu’s aggression inside Gweru’s 22 meter box 5 minutes later paid off as he got the Elephant’s defining try, which was however accompanied by a missed conversion, turning the tables with the visitors now leading 12-08.
Three minutes to halftime the Elephants’s Eighth-man Jason Mackey scored a third try but still the kicking seemed off as they missed the conversion, bringing the scores to 17-08 at halftime.
The second half belonged to OMs Fullback Andrea Banda who scored three tries in the 51st, 55th and 82nd minutes with Daniel Nyathi only managing to convert on one of the tries earning the extra two points.
Gweru did not give up easy from halftime exhibiting a more organised attack formation retaliating with another three points from a penalty kick by Chidindi in the 62nd minute just before a Joseph Mudzingwa try 13 minutes later.
It was however not enough to win the game as the game ended 34-16 in favour of the Elephants.
Gweru Coach/Player Olivier Joubert said Gweru played well in the early first half especially the first 10 minutes but lost touch and confidence to win as the game progressed.
Joubert said the team still needs to work on fitness levels,defence, being more aggressive and disciplined but they have made significant improvements from their previous matches.
On match discipline, despite the excellent flow and display of the game a few altercations between players occurred during the game but were firmly handled by the match official Nothando Ndlovu, especially on the visiting team.
Matsika said the altercations are steered by the nature of the game but they do need to work on it.
“Yes that’s a rugby match so it’s going to have some aggression and emotions but we do need to work on that because we were losing the plot here and there,” he said.
OMs will take a break next weekend before hosting unbeaten log leaders Old Georgians while Gweru face an uphill task as they host Harare Sports Club this coming weekend.
Elsewhere, Police Defenders pulled a shocker at Hartsfield beating Matabeleland Warriors 39 -29 while Harare Sports Club ended Mutare Sports Club’s unbeaten run by a 51 -03 thumping.