National Clubs Round-up: Final two Cell C Community Cup slots up for grabs
Mossel Bay Barbarians or Oudtshoorn’s Bridgton will become the 14th and penultimate automatic qualifiers for the 2014 Cell C Community Cup when they clash in the SWD Premier League final on Saturday at what is expected to be a jam-packed Outeniqua Park in George.
Barbarians and Bridgton will kick off at 16h20 in the main game of the annual SWD club finals day, which provides a golden opportunity for amateur players from across the province to run out at Outeniqua Park to contest a number of league finals.
Barbarians, as widely expected, beat Groot-Brak in the first semi-final, while Bridgton caused the shock of the season when they beat defending champions and 2013 league winners Pacaltsdorp Evergreens in the other match. It was only Evergreens’ second defeat of the season, and their first at home.
The SWD Premier League final is played in front of arguably the biggest crowd for a club match anywhere in the country. Last year’s final, between Evergreens and Blanco, drew 8,800 spectators and with the added prize of qualifying for the Community Cup at stake, another full house is expected.
One of Barbarians or Bridgton will join defending champions GAP Despatch and Border’s top open club, Broubart Old Selbornian, in Pool A, together with two wild cards.
With just under six months to go until the 2014 Community Cup kicks off on 8 March with the opening match in Despatch, the 13 confirmed qualifiers are: Welkom Rovers (Griffons), Hamiltons (WP), GAP Despatch (EP), Shumba Ferros (Mpumalanga), Jonsson College Rovers (KZN), Brakpan (Falcons), Roodepoort (Golden Lions), Sishen (Griquas), Bloemfontein Crusaders (Free State), Centurion (Blue Bulls), BB Truck Noordelikes (Blue Bulls Limpopo), Broubart Old Selbornian (Border) and Rustenburg Impala (Leopards).
There is a chance that the final automatic Community Cup qualifying slot may also be decided on Saturday when the penultimate round of the Boland Premier League takes place. Title favourites Roses United (72 points) still hold a slender five-point lead over perennial runners-up Wesbank – whom they face in the final match of the season in Malmesbury on 5 October.
Thanks to Roses’ superior points difference, the Wellington-based side have a chance to all but wrap up the league should they beat Ceres with a bonus point, but they will know that there are no guarantees when it comes to away matches in the Boland.
Wesbank also face a tricky away fixture, to fourth-placed Hawston, knowing that they need nothing less than a five-point haul if they are to stand any chance of fighting for the title on their home ground in the final match of the season.
Defending champions Villagers Worcester still have a mathematical chance of retaining their crown, but it would require a number of other results to go their way.
Once all provincial leagues are completed, SARU will choose five wild cards to complete the 20-team field from the ranks of the second-best eligible open clubs in each province, based on final log position.
This weekend’s Premier League club fixtures from around SA (as supplied to SARU by its provincial unions):
Boland Premier League, Saturday (Round 18):
Ceres vs Roses United
Hawston vs Wesbank
Saldanha vs Villagers Worcester
Wellington vs Robertson
Black Leaves vs Vredenburg
SWD Club Finals Day, Saturday (Outeniqua Park, George):
President League 2nd teams – Riversdale Blues vs Harlequins (B field – 10h30)
Premier League 3rd teams – Mossel Bay Barbarians vs Bridgton (B field – 11h55)
Premier League 2nd teams – Mossel Bay Barbarians vs Pacaltsdorp Evergreens (A field – 13h20)
President League final (promotion match) – Mossel Bay vs Bonnievale Blue Birds (A field – 14h45)
Premier League final – Mossel Bay Barbarians vs Bridgton (A field – 16h20)