Zululand Observer - Weekender
Dogged Empangeni tops the log
EMPANGENI’S 31-24 victory over eShowe at Mick Kelly Park on Saturday moved the squad to the top of the log standing after two rounds in the Weber and Van Rooyen Cup competition.
This win did not come easily, as eShowe had a 17-12 lead midway into the second half.
Spectators were treated to a ping-pong affair as the lead changed hands many times.
Empangeni fullback Juan-Henry Liebenberg opened his side’s account with a try and conversion.
But the lead was quickly narrowed when eShowe scrumhalf Bonginkosi Maduna managed to find his way over the whitewash for his side (7-5).
This effort sparked something in the visiting team’s performance, which resulted in a try from No 8 Phakame Biyela, which edged eShowe ahead 10-7 going into half-time.
Empangeni upped the ante in the second half, with eighthman Lwando Kleinbooi dotting down.
But again this lead did not hold for long as eShowe’s Sphelele Nxumalo crashed over the chalk, which Gladwell Maduna converted to take the tally to 17-12.
Kleinbooi was having none of that and claimed his second try, which Liebenberg converted to again push Empangeni into the lead (19-17).
Gaps started to open up, which resulted in a try from Lindani Manqela, extending the home side’s lead to 24-17.
Replacement Richard Mthembu made his impact felt when he crashed over for Empangeni’s fifth try, which Liebenberg converted, taking the tally to 31-17.
eShowe refused to go down without a fight and scored through Gladwell Maduna, with Maduna converting to end the game on 31-24.
In the other matches, Hluhluwe and Unizulu played to a 15-15 draw on Friday night, while Richards Bay thumped Mtubatuba 36-17.
Round three fixtures
Tomorrow (Friday) - eShowe vs Richards Bay at eShowe at 8pm; Hluhluwe vs Empangeni at Hluhluwe at 8pm. Saturday - Mtubatuba vs Unizulu at Mtubatuba at 3pm.