It was almost fitting that it took 79 minutes of the final to determine the eventual winners of the inaugural Cell C Community Cup, but in the end it was GAP Despatch who ran out 26-24 winners over Jonsson College Rovers, courtesy of a last-gasp penalty on the hooter by their fullback Monty Dumond.
The veteran player had a 47-metre effort a minute earlier falling a couple of metres short, but when afforded another kick 45 metres out after Rovers had hands in the ruck, he slotted it as the buzzer sounded and he was mobbed by team mates.
Rovers had just retaken the lead three minutes earlier with a Greg Goosen penalty, but a last desperate surge by Despatch resulted in them giving Dumond his glory moment.
“We want to put Despatch back on the map and this is only the beginning,” said their captain, Elroy Ligman.
“We want to thank everyone for their effort and also Cell C and SARU for making this happen.”
Despatch hooker Giovano Fourie was named Player of the Tournament.
It was Rovers who opened the scoring with a penalty by fullback Chris Micklewood, but Despatch found the way to the tryline first.
Livewire Marlon Lewis, who already kicked two dropped goals earlier in the tournament, showed some deft touches in scoring the opening try and although the conversion was missed, a very good try by Trichardt van Tonder saw the Eastern Cape side extending their lead to 10-3.
Rovers closed the gap with a try by Chris Jordaan and the successful conversion by Goosen drew the scores level. Despatch took the lead again with Jaco Swanepoel scoring and Dumond converting. Dumond traded penalties with Goosen, but a try on the buzzer cancelled out the Despatch lead. Sergio Torrens scored for the third time in as many matches to give his side the slightest of edges.
The second half was always going to be a tight affair. Rain started falling again and with the reality of what is at stake inhibiting play, it was left to the kickers to try and get field position and kick penalties.
Dumond was up first with this task and a long range effort in the 50th minute had his side in the lead again.
Micklewood pulled a drop goal attempt and Goosen only managed to hit the upright with their attempts in the 64th and 65th minutes.
Micklewood missed another long range effort with the ball just missing to the left.
Rovers kept plugging away at Despatch though and their hard work finally paid off when Goosen kicked a penalty right in front with six minutes left.
Dumond had a long range effort to win it for his team two minutes from time, but his 47-metre effort came up just short. But his last effort determined the home of the Gold Cup for the next year.
- GAP Despatch 26 (20): Tries: Marlon Lewis, Trichardt van Tonder, Jaco Swanepoel. Conversion: Monty Dumond. Penalties: Dumond (3).
- Jonsson College Rovers 24 (21): Tries: Chris Jordaan, Sergio Torrens. Conversion: Greg Goosen. Penalties: Chris Micklewood, Goosen (3).