It was third time lucky for the U/11 team of Gene Louw, whose predecessors had fallen at the last hurdle in trying to win the Aloe Cup which was held in Jeffreys Bay from 21 – 23 June.
On previous occasions, they were vanquished by the boys from Bloemfontein as Grey Primary won both the previous two finals.
This time they did not have to match up against Grey for a third time as the Grey side surprisingly ended last in the Cup competition and had to play a promotion/relegation match to stay in the Cup for 2019.
Instead Gene Louw faced a surprising finalist in Handhaaf Primary from Uitenhage, who had squeaked through to the final match with a tenacious one point win over Durbanville, one of the powerhouse schools in the Western Cape.
There was some trepidation that the final would not be able to live up to the expectations set by the incredible semi-final matches, but this was soon dispelled as both teams proved themselves to be worthy finalists.
The match swung to and fro with both teams battling for every inch of territory and every scrap of possession – the match was played with an intensity befitting a test match.
Every try and conversion was met with an identical answer from the opponents and as the match entered the last minute of playing time the scores were locked at 14 points each.
It seemed like extra time was on the cards when a great run by the Gene Louw loosehead saw him score from 20 meters out – just rewards for a player that must have carried the ball into contact at least 20 time during the match.
The conversion was successful, the final whistle blew and Gene Louw became the 2018 Aloe Cup winners.
This was a fitting end to a brilliant tournament. The changed format led to competitive matches through all three days, and with the number of participating teams capped at 12 the tournament will stay fairly exclusive and very competitive.
Beaumont thumped Durbanville in the playoff for 3rd position and proved again that they have some truly talented boys – as reflected by the fact that they had the most players chosen in the KFC Dream Team.
Grey and Outeniqua won their respective matches to stay in the cup and a special mention should be made of Volkskool, who had been winless until their last match of the tournament where they rallied back from a 24-0 halftime deficit to beat Stulting 26-24.
2018 KFC Cup Winners – Gene Louw
2018 KFC Plate Winners – Sunridge
2018 KFC Cup 2nd – Handhaaf
2018 KFC Cup 3rd – Beaumont