Fullback Leighton Eksteen scored 16 points as the SWD Eagles clinched just their second victory in the Absa Currie Cup First Division with a 21-17 (halftime 14-10) triumph over the Hino Valke at Outeniqua Park in George on Friday evening.
Eksteen grabbed a try, conversion and three penalties as the men from the Garden route moved into double figures on the First Division log with 13 points from their seven outings. But the victory required a converted try on the stroke of fulltime to give the home side victory.
With time up on the clock, and the Valke leading 17-14, left wing Alshaun Bock dashed over the tryline to send the small George-crowd into hysterical joy while Eksteen added the two points to complete the joyous comeback.
The Valke started strongly, carrying on from where they left off against Border last weekend, with their first try after just four minutes through flanker Jacques Verwey with fullback Juan Kotze missing the conversion.
Eksteen gave the home side something to cheer about when he slotted his first penalty of the night just two minutes later but the visitors extended their lead not long after.
Right wing Kyle Hendricks finished off a lovely team move to score a try in the corner as the Valke moved seven points clear after Kotze again missed the extra two points.
Eksteen was all over the place, slotting his second penalty of the night before rounding off an excellent try in the left-hand corner, which he was unable to convert.
But the match was about to take a turn for the worse for the Eagles as right wing Clinton Wagman became the first player in this year’s campaign to be shown a red card with just 30 minutes on the clock.
Yet the hosts finished the first half strongly despite being a man down as Eksteen slotted his third penalty to give the Eagles a four-point advantage at the break.
The visitors used their one man advantage better at the start of the second stanza when eighthman Friedle Olivier rumbled over for the Valke’s third try.
Kotze converted the try to give the men from Kempton Park a slender three-point advantage with 25 minutes remaining. But the Eagles held out, defending strongly and counter-attacking like a boxer on the ropes and their determination paid off when Bock dived over the tryline.
SWD Eagles – Tries: Alshaun Bock, Leighton Eksteen; Conversion: Eksteen; Penalties: Eksteen (3).
Hino Valke – Tries: Friedle Olivier, Jacques Verwey, Kyle Hendricks; Conversion: Jaun Kotze.