The annual tournament was held in honour of the late Peter Mkata, a KWARU and black Springbok flyhalf and one of the finest rugby players produced by the Eastern Cape. Seven districts took part in the four day event which started on Thursday in PE.
The Cacadu district ( Humansdorp/Patensie/Hankey/Somerset-East and Grahamstown) emerged as the winner of the Peter Mkata Memorial schools tournament when they beat Itembelihle by 5-3. It was a bruising encounter played in cold and windy conditions at the Wolfson stadium in New Brighton.
Both teams ended top in their respective pools. Itembelihle beat Oliver Tambo by 10-0,Alfred Nzo 15-6 and Ukuhlamba by 17-6. and Midlands 15-10 in the semi final.
The Midlands side had earlier been beaten 43-10 by Cacadu. Their players were a determined outfit and Itembelihle had to pull out all the stops to defeat them.Hero for Itembelihle was fly half Mbembe Payi who scored all his sides points via two drop goals and three penalties. Midlands scored two unconverted tries. Cacadu then hammered Ukuhlamba in the other semi-final.
The powerful Cacadu district, a combination of the best players from the district were the overwhelming favourites before the game, but the Itembelihle side came to show why they are so highly rated in the province. The game moved from the one side to the other of the field as both sides tried to take control. For Itembelihle, big number eight ,Zingisa April, had a storming game as he kept his side going forward with some strong running. Lock Sihle Mngautwa made sure that Itembelihle won their fair share of lineout ball. Itembelihle kept the Cacadu scrum under pressure and in doing so nullified their brilliant backline. Itembelihle were first to score when flyhalf Payi kicked a penalty just before half time. He missed a second attempt from the touchline as the strong wind just blew the ball away!. Itembelihle led 3-0 at the break. Cacadu upped the tempo in the second half , kicking for position and then using their bigger forwards to try and wear Itembelihle down, but a huge defensive effort from Itembelihle kept them out. Here hooker Godfrey Ndongeni and lock Gift Magenuka put in spome big hits. Cacadu eventually scored after sustained pressure for about ten minutes on the Itembelihle try line when their scrumhalf scored in the corner with about three minutes to go. Itembelihle took a quick kick off, regained the ball and took it through several phases before over eagerness led to a knock on with flyhalf Payi lined up for a drop goal attempt. Cacadu booted the ball out from the scrum to emerge victors. There were several tired and battered bodies after the game, playing five games in four days against the best in the province is certainly no joke.
Itembelihle will now travel to East Londen on the 30th September till the 2nd of October for the annual Dennis Botha top 16 schools competition.with another five gruelling games awaiting them before their season finally ends!