THE Northern (Harare) topflight rugby league resumed last Saturday after a two-weeks break with the Mutare Shumbas back on winning ways following a 19-17 away win against Police Defenders (PD) in the match played at Old Georgians Sports Club in Harare.
The Shumbas that had set off their campaign in the season opener with a 19-18 away victory against Alex Sports Club had succumbed consecutive defeats at the hands of Harare Sports Club and Old Hararians until last weekend.
The Shumbas that are known to go down fighting and to be a cunning side that can never be underestimated in the league stunned a visiting Sportivo (HSC) in their second match of the season, when they held the Harare giants to a 14- 7 narrow lead by half time in a match that however eventually ended 22-7 in favour of Sportivo. The next match against OH which was another home fixture which saw OH come full guns blazing with a score to settle after they had gone down to the Shumbas last season. The score was settled as they walloped the Shumbas 52-11 and sent the humiliated Shumbas back to the drawing board.
Following the two-weeks break to accommodate a national sevens rugby fixture and the Easter Holiday, the Northern league resumed last Saturday and it seems the break was just what coach Mackenzie Munetsi’s side needed to get their head back into the game. PD has traditionally been a thorny side for the Shumbas, especially on away fixtures, but through tries from Tinotenda Nyawasha, Jones Dedza and James Marimbire as well as the crucial two conversions by Armson Makumbe and Xavier Kwenda, the Mutare side managed to secure a close 19-17 victory.
In other topflight Northern league matches played last Saturday, Sportivo hammered Alex Sports Club 55-3 while OH edged XP Horns 47-19. Following last weekend’s fixtures most teams are left with two matches to end the first round, including one postponed fixture during the two-week break.
MSC now sits on position four on the log with eight points while Sportivo (20) sits on top of the log followed by OGs (12) and OH (12) in that order, with the two teams still having a game in hand. ASC (6), XP Horns (5) and PD (1) trail on fifth, sixth and seventh place respectively. XP Horns and PD each still have a game in hand as well.