Is the glamour back at OH?

HARARE - Red-hot Old Hararians maintained pole position in the National Rugby League (NRL) with an emphatic 31-20 win over arch rivals Harare Sports Club in an epic encounter on Saturday at HSC.

The win against the defending champions secured the Green Machine’s first double over their bitter city rivals almost eight years.

The once dominant force of Zimbabwean rugby have operated like a well-oiled machine this season under the guidance of new coach Cyprian Mandenge, relieving some of their glory days with impressive performances  thus far.

Saturday afternoon was another display of their good form, proving their pedigree yet again by rising from the dead in the last 10 minutes of the game through two classic tries by Zimbabwe flyer Tangai Nemadire, who crossed the Great Divide from Sports Club this season, and enterprising back Lungile Tshuma.

HSC really put a fight, mainly in the first half. Utility back Teddy ‘Boxer’ Hwata was splendid with ball in hand and was precise with the kicking tee. His five-star performance, which resulted in him weighing all 20 points for his team, went in vain as Sports Club slumped to their fourth defeat of the season.

OH captain Tichafara Makwanya hailed his team over the comeback.

“We let them run at us especially in the first period, we had some defensive lapses myself included, but we showed character to come back and win,” Makwanya said.

Makwanya believes only complacency can stop the Old Boys from going all the way to clinch the title. The  have accumulated 49 points after 11 game, some 10 points ahead of Old Georgians, who however have two games in hand.

Sports Club team manager Blessing ‘Bhuru’ Chitaure could not hide his disappointment.

“We played well in the first half, but unfortunately mistakes cost us in the second half. Against a big team like OH, it always comes back to haunt you. We need to fix our second halves going forward.”

In other NRL matches, the highly-anticipated Bulawayo derby between Old Miltonians and Western Panthers resulted in a disappointing 10 all draw. Gweru Sports edged out Zvishavane Bulls 14-12 in a tightly-contested match.

Former champions Old Georgians, who are currently second on the log with 39 points, kept pressure on OH with a resounding 61-27 victory over Matabeleland Warriors.

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