LOPSIDED scorelines characterised the opening round of the unbranded National Rugby League (NRL) season as the country’s traditional rugby giants posted runaway wins against their opponents on Saturday.
Former champions Harare Sports Club recorded the biggest win on the day humiliating Zvishavane Bulls 86-0 at Harare Sports Club in the capital.
Newly-promoted Mutare Sports Club were not spared the rude awakening by a rampant Old Georgians who dotted down 14 tries and eight conversions en route to an 86-3 win in an earlier match at the same venue.
The huge gulf in quality between the stronger sides and the so-called small teams was exposed in the opening match at Hartsfield Rugby Grounds when Matabeleland Busters cruised to an emphatic 32-3 victory over Gweru Sports Club.
Western Panthers got off to a winning start in the Bulawayo derby against Old Miltonians with a 21-15 scoreline at Hartsfield Rugby Grounds.
The only closely contested encounter during the opening weekend of the National Rugby League was witnessed in the derby encounter between Western Panthers and Old Miltonians.
Western Panthers won the match 21-15 at Hartsfield Rugby Grounds.
Panthers had only a penalty to show for their efforts in the first half as they went to the breather trailing 3-5 after Old Miltonians (OMs) opened the scoring courtesy of a try by Nelson Madida.
OMs full-back Gabisani Ndlovu missed the conversion and in the second half he made up for the missed chance when he converted after another try from Madida.
Busani Ncube who later picked a serious injury in the dying minutes of the match put Panthers back in the game with a try, but Mayibongwe Ncube missed the conversion.
Referee Simbarashe Dangah awarded Panthers two penalties within minutes of each other which were converted by Mayibongwe.
Ndlovu contributed more points to OMs with a well-taken penalty, but the Panthers still had the game within their grasp after Dangah awarded them a penalty-try and Ncube converted.