DURBAN – Varsity Cup’s knockout stages were decided on Monday night, with Maties topping the table despite a stalemate in Potchefstroom.
In a cracking, winner-takes-all game, Pukke and Maties played to a 33-33 draw, leaving them atop the table by a single point over their opponents for the evening.
The remaining two spots were still very much up for grabs as Wits plummeted from third to fifth having sat out this round, UJ and Shimlas profiting with their wins.
In the battle of Bloemfontein, the Shimlas easily walked away with the bragging rights over their close neighbours, CUT. It was a runaway for Shimlas who scored 69 points to the CUT’s 33.
Before the game kicked off, Shimlas were just inside the play-off zone, sitting in fourth a point ahead of UJ, and a point behind Wits. It was vital for the Shimlas to pick up maximum points in order to stay in the top four, especially considering Wits had a bye and no chance to add any more points in their charge.
The five points elevated Shimlas to third, with 29 points, missing out on a home semi-final, but happy to escape the tight end of the lower knock-out spots.
Unfortunately for Wits, they not only dropped to fourth, but fell another place as UJ scraped into fourth by the skin of their teeth.
UJ managed to hold on at home against the UCT Ikeys in a tense one-pointer. The home side winning 18-17. The four points for UJ jumped them up to 27 points, two behind the Shimlas.
With the two visiting teams in the knockouts sorted, the battle at the top of the table was all about who would win on the night with Pukke one point behind coming into the final round.
However, there was no winner on the night, and for that reason Maties progressed to take top spot. And, if they win against UJ at home in the semi-final next week, they will also host the final in Stellenbosch.
In the other game of the evening, which had little say on the knockout stages, but was still vitally important for the Madibaz, things did not end well for the Port Elizabeth team.
Traveling to Tuks, the Madibaz were humbled 82-21 ending the competition without picking up a single win, It means relegation for the Madibaz as CUT’s one win all season saves them from the drop.