DirectAxis False Bay buried the ghosts of 2016 as they surged to their maiden Gold Cup triumph in front of a record home crowd at the Phillip Herbstein Field in Cape Town on Saturday.
‘The Bay’, runners-up to Newrak Rustenburg Impala last year, withstood a late onslaught from KZN champions Go Nutz College Rovers to win 30-18 and so claim the biggest prize in non-university club rugby.
The match was also personal triumph for 30-year-old False Bay skipper Graham Knoop, who not only won the Man of the Match award but also the title of South African Club Player of the Year, having led the team to a near-perfect season during which the Constantia-based club lost just one match, in the domestic Western Province Super League.
DirectAxis False Bay’s win was also testament to their 35-year-old head coach Jonno van der Walt, who was named SA Club Coach of the Year for his efforts. Under Van der Walt’s watch, False Bay have lost just three of 48 matches over the past two seasons. The team is now unbeaten at home for three years.
“This was without doubt the biggest day in our 88-year history,” said False Bay chairman Kevin Lennett.
“We had over 5,000 people come through the gates, which was the biggest crowd we’ve ever seen here, and I think it’s fair to say the people were treated to an afternoon that will be spoken of for decades to come.”
DirectAxis False Bay – Tries: Danie Roux (2), Marcello Sampson, Tapiwa Tsomondo. Conversions: Adnaan Osman. Penalties: Osman, Meryck Ward.
Go Nutz College Rovers – Tries: Chris Jordaan, Grant Rattray. Conversion: Gavin Scott. Penalties: Scott (2).