The Hino Valke upset the form book as they clinched a narrow 32-30 (halftime 21-23) win over the SWD Eagles in their provincial tournament match at Outeniqua Park in George on Friday.
SWD were coming off a heavy 30-14 loss at the hands of the Down Touch Griffons but their overall record heading into the match against the Valke was good with three wins from five games while the Valke have endured a tough season with just one win from four games.
Both teams ran in three tries apiece but the Valke, after trailing by nine points five minutes after the start of the second half, eventually wore their opponents down to hold on for the victory.
The home team had opened up an early 10-point lead thanks to a try from left wing Hentzwill Pedro and a conversion and penalty from fullback Thomas Kean before the Valke responded with a penalty from pivot Karlo Aspeling.
The Eagles extended their lead to 17-3 after a converted try from outside centre Daniel Roberts before the Valke fought their way back into the contest thanks to a converted try from hooker Dean Muir and a second Aspeling penalty.
Kean kicked two more penalties before the Valke went to the break trailing by just two points thanks to a 39th minute try from right wing Carlyle Hendricks.
The hosts could have been forgiven for thinking that they had the upper hand after Pedro went over for his second try, five minutes after the restart, but the Valke were the only team to score again in the match.
Lock Shane Kirkwood rumbled over for a try in the 53rd minute before Hendricks struck with the boot as he kicked two penalties, in the 55th and 65th minute, with the second three-pointer seeing the Valke taking the lead for the first time in the match.
SWD Eagles – Tries: Hentzwill Pedro (2), Daniel Roberts; Conversions: Thomas Kean (3); Penalties: Kean (3).
Hino Valke – Tries: Dean Muir, Carlyle Hendricks, Shane Kirkwood; Conversions: Karlo Aspeling; Penalties: Aspeling (3), Hendricks (2).