WESTERN Panthers Under-20 side lifted the Zimbo Cup after they stole a two-point victory from Old Miltonians (OMs) in a tightly contested action-packed final played at Hartsfield Grounds on Saturday. REPORT BY VITALIS MOYO SPORTS REPORTER
A try in the second half from Panthers prop Roberto Ndlela guaranteed his side an 8-6 victory as Panthers tip-toed past OMs in a nail-biting clash that could have gone either way.
The encounter began with the two sides playing a cautious game as both were determined not to give the game away, instead waiting to pounced on mistakes to provide a break that was much needed to set the game ablaze.
Panthers got the break when their fly half Taurisai Mugariri put the ball between the posts from a penalty kick to send his side 3-0 up. However, OMs quickly made a comeback as Muziwethu Tankwa successfully converted a penalty to level up matters going into the break.In the second half, OMs showed why they were favorites as they dominated much of the play forcing Panthers players to commit a number of fouls which resulted in a couple of penalties being awarded to them. Tankwa booted another in-between the posts from a penalty to put his side in a commanding position 6-3 up.
Panthers piled on the pressure despite giving away penalties that OMs failed to make the most out of. The pressure from panthers finally paid off when a tenacious Ndlela scored a try with Mugariri failing to convert the resultant free kick leaving the scoreline at 8-6.
Poor decision-making from OMs players proved to be their downfall as they failed to find the target after choosing to kick the penalties that they were awarded.