The Griffons showed good composure to secure a 26-20 victory over a determined EP Country Districts at Craven Week in Polokwane on Thursday.
Both sides scored two tries in a hard-fought match, but the Griffons never gave up the lead as the accurate boot of flyhalf Shaun Reynolds ensured that they kept their noses in front.
The Griffons took the game to the opposition from the outset, and spent the opening exchanges deep in EP Country District's territory, but the defence held up well and the Griffons could not capitalise on their early advantage.
The opening try would come from much further out as a turnover on the Griffons' 22 was sent wide, with some slick handling in the backline until it got to scrumhalf Roelof Scheepers who finished it off well to give the Griffons a 7-0 lead.
The EP side regrouped well as they looked for a response, and created a few opportunities in Griffons' territory but could not find the finishing touch and soon it was 14-0 to the Griffons when flank Andre Jansen van Vuuren crashed over for their second try.
EP Country Districts needed a try to keep themselves in the game, and it was hooker Thomas Filmer who was on hand to open their account by diving over in the corner after a period of sustained pressure in the Griffons 22.
However it was the Griffons who would have the final say in the first half, with a penalty from Reynolds giving them a 17-7 lead at the half-time break.
EP Country Districts started the second half with a bang as a scything run from fullback Tsepho Mabitsela put them on the attack, and they hit double figures when flyhalf Jason Vers slotted a penalty, but Reynolds hit back with two penalties of his own to stretch the Griffons' lead to 23-10.
The Eastern Cape side tightened things up and launched a few driving mauls in the Griffons 22, but the defence was up to the challenge and they had to be content with another penalty from Vers which reduced the gap to ten points.
The Griffons stormed back onto the attack and held a siege on the EP Country Districts' tryline, but they ran into some determined defence as the Eastern Cape side kept their feint hopes alive.
With ten minutes left the EP side needed to make thge running, but they coughed up possession too easily and could not build the momentum they needed to put the Griffons' defence under pressure.
Instead it was Reynolds who would make the game safe for the Griffons with his fourth penalty before EP Country Districts got a last-minute consolation try to centre Robert Ball.
Man of the match: Griffons flyhalf Shaun Reynolds' pinpoint goal-kicking kept his side in front, whilst he controlled the game well in open play as well.
Tries: Scheepers, Jansen van Vuuren
Cons: Reynolds 2
Pens: Reynolds 4
For EP Country Districts:
Tries: Filmer, Ball
Cons: Vers 2
Pens: Vers 2
Griffons: 15 Sechaba Matsoele, 14 Wessel Hefer, 13 Johannes van der Watt, 12 Rian Pretorius, 11 Jonathan April, 10 Shaun Reynolds, 9 Roelof Scheepers, 8 Gregan Hull, 7 Damien May, 6 Andre Jansen van Vuuren, 5 Floris Pelser, 4 Francois Stemmet, 3 Shane Grobler, 2 Samuel Brummer, 1 Kyle Ess.
Replacements: 16 Nick Fortuin, 17 Ernest Sumner, 18 Mpho Ramokhoase, 19 Arno de Blom, 20 Gerrit Otto, 21 Jamie Joseph, 22 Mlumzana Nkala.
EP Country Districts: 15 Tsepho Mabitsela, 14 Apiwe Dinga, 13 Robert Ball, 12 Gordon-Wayne Plaatjes, 11 Xantilomzi Sandi, 10 Jason Vers, 9 Jason Baggott, 8 Luigy van Jaarsveld, 7 Ockert du Preez, 6 Cornelius van Heerden, 5 Sintu Manjezi, 4 Tyler Paul, 3 James Beyl, 2 Thomas Filmer, 1 Nicolaas Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Jacobus Blom, 17 David Murray, 18 Christoffel Viljoen, 19 Stuart Stopforth, 20 Qhama Masiza, 21 Siphosethu Pinini, 22 Peet Schoeman.