GLENWOOD was the better team, but few in the relatively small crowd on a chilly afternoon would agree that the 23-11 win was a true reflection of the closeness of the game.
Maritzburg College could so easily have been just a few points from winning if the ball had bounced their way and some of the 50/50 decisions had favoured them.
Referee Andrew Nicholson had some problems in the scrums, where the two strong front rows battled to stay up when they engaged. Many scrums were reset, but others were penalised more often against College.
The side Nicholson was on was usually able to hold up and it would be the opposite side that would collapse, but when he moved across it would hold up. Did he pick up the breaking of the bind correctly?
There were also penalties for the front rows pushing up and here it was mainly due to the force of the two strong packs, but did these penalties go the right way?
There was not much to separate the two packs of forwards and where Glenwood had the edge was in the backline, where they had more pace and looked more dangerous with the ball in hand.
On attack their supporting play was tremendous, with the ball carrier having someone in support on his shoulder.
College defence had to be good and some big tackles were made, often resulting in the ball spilling forward. With Nicholson allowing good advantage there were some exciting moments with both sides counter attacking.
Glenwood dominated the first 10 minutes of the game and it was only in the 11th minute when College got into the Glenwood 22 metre area that flyhalf Marco Pennesi put over a drop goal to put College into a 3-0 lead.
Glenwood flyhalf Fred Zeilinga equalised with a long penalty shortly after. Pennesi then put College back in front with a penalty.
The first try was scored by replacement wing Mandla Ntshinila in the 25th minute.
He scored in the corner after a good run down the touch line, Zeilinga added the extra points with an accurate conversion and on the stroke of half time, added another long penalty for Glenwood to lead 16-6 at the break.
A handling mistake from Glenwood resulted in College having a five metre scrum, from which it appeared they had scored, but Nicholson said that the ball was grounded on a College leg so the try was not awarded. Shortly after, Glenwood drove from a line-out and the try was awarded to a mass of bodies over the line.
Zeilinga converted to put Glenwood 23-6 ahead.
College had two line-outs within 10 metres of the tryline in the next few minutes, but in one the throw was not straight and the other the jumper missed the ball and two possible try-scoring opportunities were lost. In the last minute College did get it right from another lineout close to the line and Nic Pletts scored in the corner for their 11 points.
OTHER RESULTS: Hilton 42 St Albans 6; St Charles 27 Clifton 0; Kearsney 24 Northwood 6; Michaelhouse 27 George Campbell 10; Carter 10 Howick 10; Wartburg 25 Ixopo 0; Port Natal 25 Voortrekker 7; Gelofte 7 Thomas More 3; Kingsway 23 Port Shepstone 22; Kloof 18 New Forest 14.