HARARE – Old HARARIANS finally reclaimed their glamour when they edged Old Georgians 29-27 to end their eight-year title drought in a fiercely contested Lion Lager National Rugby League (NRL) final on Saturday.
OGs started like a house on fire dominating the early exchanges with an imposing pack and could have gained the lead as early as the 12th minute but sharp shooter Boyd Rous seemed to have left his kicking boots at home as he missed a sitter.
The Groombridge-based side were the first to strike when Kudakwashe Chiwanza pierced through the OH defence dotting down for the first try of the match with Rous making amends with the conversion.
The Old Boys responded immediately through a Tichafara Makwanya penalty, cutting the lead to just four points.
The Dragons restored their dominance when right wing Tatas Mutataguta crossed the whitewash for their second try but Rous failed to add the extra points this time around.
Hooker Keith Murray extended their lead to 19-3 when he went over for another unconverted try.
Makwanya boot came to the fore once more when he sunk in another three points.
The Green Machine skipper turned from hero to villain when he was charged down by Chiwanza inside his own 22 metre line.
Chiwanza easily gathered the ball to plant a try under the sticks but Rous missed the conversion once again.
Makwanya redeemed himself with a penalty at the stroke of half time as the two teams went for the break with home side trailing 9-24.
Cyprian Mandenge stern words at the break seemed to have done the trick for the Old Boys as they started the second half a more purposeful side.
The introduction of Sharks Academy starlet Takudzwa Chieza and Sables flyer Gardner Nechironga injected life into the OH backs.
The duos’ arrival pulled the game in favour of the home side.
Makwanya’s boot continued to chip in the OGs lead as he weighed in two penalties.
Chieza and Nechironga also dotted down a try each in quick succession with Makwanya adding the extra points as OH took the lead for the first time in the encounter.
OGs only managed three points in the second period through a penalty by Rous as the Green Machine held on for a famous win.