Along the way to ending up on opposite ends of the Virsekerbeker Shield league in 2018, Ben Vorster (Tzaneen) and Pietersburg (Polokwane) both fell prey to the competition’s strict points system which saw the two Limpopo province schools lose points and with it opportunities.
You’ve heard of “taking one for the team” but for Ben Vorster their suffering was a case of “taking out the team for one”. Their stand out under-16A team was effectively disqualified from the semi-finals and forfeited all points earned from wins because of one of their players. During the second term the player in question was selected for the Limpopo u16 Grant Khomo Week team but through more elaborate tests conducted for the Youth Week, was discovered to be overaged. This in turn prompted the action against the whole Ben Vorster u16A team in the third term. Fortunately for Ben Vorster, in spite of the lost points, they still topped their group and are set for promotion to the Virsekerbeker Plate in 2019.
Not so lucky are the Limpopo province’s biggest school Pietersburg, who’s relegation fate hangs in the balance after they ranked last in the Shield league. Pietersburg’s demise was the direct result of a shortage of player numbers at both under-16 and under-14 levels. They were so thin, they didn’t even have enough rugby boys to make up B-teams in these two age-groups. So when A-team injuries hit during the course of the season, Pieties had to withdraw their u16A and u14A teams, which in terms of the Virsekerbeker rules meant that those two teams lost all points earned. Pietersburg ended the regular season on just 62 points, the lowest score of all 24 schools making up Division 1. For their u16A and u14A, forget winning matches, the default points earned by merely pitching up and playing would have at least secured Pietersburg a finish ahead of next closest rivals Florida (75) and Hugenote (74), before the playoffs started.