Police fight back to win Border rugby league title
In their defining hour at the Police Park fortress and in front of passionate support, Police were dominant, emphatic, claustrophobic and did the job only champions do.
The last day of the Super League was less dramatic than expected, but still delivered an intriguing finish to the season. Police had to draw on all their experience and pedigree to win yet another Border championship by beating a resilient Fort Hare Blues side 34-21.
In the end the class of Police showed. It was a must-win match for the Bobbies, considering that, on the other side of the equation at Ntenteni Fields, the alreadyrelegated Black Eagles did not even bother to pitch up, handing Police’s closest rivals Ncerha Leopards, five points on a platter.
With the run-up to the final day and midway through the league season it was all Ncerha Leopards, with Police pushing quietly behind the log leaders.
It takes a champion team to hit back after an unexpected bump in the first round of matches, when they lost 30-24 away to Ntlaza Lions, but that was the only loss in their run-up to the title.
That was followed by a string of postponements for Police which further stretched the lead at the top of the table for Leopards. But when they had the opportunity to play, Police raked in the points. They won five consecutive matches before the crucial encounter against table-toppers Ncerha Leopards which ended in a 13-13 draw. That match didn’t end well, with a disappointing protest and counter-protest.
One must spare a thought for Leopards, the first team in Border rugby to be unbeaten the entire season, but still end empty-handed and the second-best team in the region. Their ability not to bury teams when presented with winnable situations came back to haunt them.
Police made the most of it, grabbing the opposition by the jugular, ripping them apart and pumping in the bonus points.
In other results, Swallows won 45-5 against Tigers and Buffs got the better of Lions, winning 24-10. Breakers won 17-5 against a woeful WSU All Blacks side while Old Boys took soft points against Young Leopards due to medical equipment problems.
With a question mark hovering over the Gold Cup, teams will be earmarking the EC Super 14 competition. Twice winners Police will spearhead the challenge, with Ncerha Leopards, Swallows, Old Selbornians, Young Leopards and Ntlaza Lions qualifying automatically, and one wild card spot.
The winners of the Premier League will be decided on August 27, when Moonlight take on United Brothers.
Police were club champs representatives in 2010 and 2016 Gold Cup representative, two times EC Super 14 champions and now Border champions. Everything was thrown at them this season, but they did not faulter.
Adversity is inevitable, but this season proved that difficulties and misfortunes don’t have to keep you from achieving your intended goals. Police have overcome every obstacle thrown at them this season and rightfully take their place among the greatest Border rugby has seen.