Weekend's scores and scorers
The race for Community Cup Easter play-off places was blown wide open at the weekend.
A last-minute missed conversion in New Brighton township and a remarkable come-from-behind victory on the East Rand capped a dramatic weekend of club action across the country.
A second try to flying Spring Rose wing Siviwe Moyake in the 78th minute set up a nailbiting conclusion to their Pool A match against Border champions Old Selbornians, but the large crowd at the New Brighton Oval were left stunned when flyhalf Thulani Meki missed the conversion to give the visitors a 20-19 win.
And in Pool C, surprise package Roses United, the Boland champions, clawed their way back from a 0-17 deficit in spectacular style when they scored 31 unanswered points, including two tries to wing Brendon April, against Boksburg to run out 50-36 winners and shoot to the top of the log.
Roodepoort, thanks to a hat-trick from flank Jaun Shaw, and Bloemfontein Crusaders came away from Welkom with bonus-point victories over Welkom and Rovers respectively to lead the standings in Pool B, while Rustenburg Impala and Hamiltons emerged as the heavyweights of Pool D with impressive wins against spirited opponents.
Impala, who finished fourth in the inaugural Community Cup, were made to work hard for a 41-17 victory against Ferros in Emalahleni in which flank Justin Wheeler scored a brace, while Hamiltons overcame a slow start against Griquas champions Sishen before running in seven tries in a 48-9 victory in Green Point.
And defending champions Despatch sent out a clear message that any team wanting to lift the priceless Gold Cup on Easter Monday will have to get through them first, Adri Geldenhuys's team overcoming a vociferous 2,600-strong home crowd to score eight tries - including a hat-trick for Springbok Sevens wing Baldwin McBean - against SWD champions Bridgton on in a sweltering Oudtshoorn.
Elsewhere there was also an impressive win for newcomers Centurion, who kicked off their campaign with a 46-22 victory over Noordelikes in Pool C. Centurion's victory now sets up an intriguing clash in Wellington this coming weekend against Roses United, who will become the first team to qualify for George should they overcome the highly physical Blue Bulls open club champions.
All club roads will lead to the Boland on Saturday as Wesbank are also at home, with a full day of fixtures against Hamiltons building up to their keenly anticipated Community Cup clash at the Wesbank Sports Grounds in Malmesbury.
Bloemfontein Crusaders will also fancy their chances this Saturday against College Rovers, with victory over the KZN champions at their fortress of Clive Solomon Stadium likely to set up a tense race for play-off spots in Pool B.
And with Spring Rose suffering their second defeat in Pool A, Mossel Bay Barbarians will travel to Despatch knowing that a shock upset over the champions in their backyard will shorten the odds on a local team qualifying - as Evergreens did last year - for next month's Easter play-offs at Outeniqua Park in George.
This weekend's seven matches will however be teed up on Thursday, when Brakpan host Boksburg in the traditional East Rand derby.
Scorers and scorers:
Bridgton (0) 7 - Despatch (28)
Tries: McBean 3, Dyer, Mentoor, Ligman, Dumond, Van Tonder
Cons: Dumond 7
Spring Rose (14) 19 - Old Selbornians (15) 20
Tries: Moyake 2
Pens: Meki 3
Tries: Shone, Alberts, Amui
Welkom 0 - Roodepoort (35) 75
Tries: Williams, Scholtz, Shaw 3, Geyer, Gray, Malau 2, Cronje, De Villiers
Cons: Williams 5, Oosthuizen 5
Bloemfontein Crusaders 29 - Rovers 21
Scorers not available
Boksburg (22) 36 - Roses United (14) 50
Tries: Adams, Jantjies, Swart, Taljaard, Venter
Cons: Buchler 4
Tries: April 2, Fortuin, Ellmann, Ramat 2, penalty try
Cons: Julies 6
Centurion (26) 46 - Noordelikes (10) 22
Tries: Pieterse, Jacobs, Stroh, Coetzee, Booysen, Keyter
Cons: Twiname, Moir 4
Pens: Twiname, Moir
Tries: Van der Merwe, De Beer, Jongbloed
Cons: Byleveldt 2
Hamiltons (17) 48 - Sishen (9) 9
Tries: Van Jaarsveld, Botha, Bartels, Giliomee 2, De Villiers, Jacobs
Cons: Vallender 5
Pens: Bloem 3
Ferros 17 - Rustenburg Impala 41
Scorers not available
Standings (under headings games played, won and points):
Despatch 2 2 9
Barbarians 1 1 5
Old Selbornians 1 1 4
Spring Rose 2 0 1
Bridgton 2 0 0
Roodepoort 2 2 9
Crusaders 2 1 6
College Rovers 1 1 5
Rovers (Griffons) 1 0 0
Welkom 2 0 0
Roses United 2 2 10
Boksburg 2 1 6
Centurion 1 1 5
Brakpan 1 0 2
Noordelikes 2 0 0
Impala 2 2 10
Hamiltons 1 1 5
Ferros 2 1 4
Wesbank 1 0 1
Sishen 2 0 0