A late drop goal by scrumhalf Boela Abrahams saw the Griffons beat the Valke 23-21 in the Currie Cup First Division final in Welkom on Friday.
In a game where the lead exchanged hands on several occasions, it was the home side who made the decisive play five minutes from time.
The visitors led 16-13 at the break courtesy of a try by captain Jacques Verwey, a conversion and two penalties from fullback Jaun Kotzé, and a drop goal from flyhalf Clinton Swart.
Despite trailing, the Griffons kept the scoreboard ticking over with a converted try by Abrahams and two penalties from flyhalf Louis Strydom.
After the interval, Griffons wing Norman Nelson dived over for a converted touchdown. Several minutes later, scrumhalf Anrich Richter's five-pointer put the Valke back in the driving seat at 21-20, even though Kotzé failed to add the extras.
Both teams kept their defence locked and it was Abrahams who took the gamble of a penalty advantage to boot his side to the Currie Cup First Division title.
Griffons – Tries: Boela Abrahams, Norman Nelson. Conversions: Louis Strydom (2). Penalties: Strydom (2). Drop goal: Abrahams.
Valke – Tries: Jacques Verwey, Anrich Richter. Conversion: Jaun Kotzé. Penalties: Kotzé (2). Drop goal: Clinton Swart.
Griffons – 15 Tertius Maarman, 14 Norman Nelson, 13 Vuyo Mbotho, 12 Japie Nel, 11 Aubrey McDonald, 10 Louis Strydom, 9 Boela Abrahams, 8 Nicky Steyn (c), 7 Armandt Koster, 6 Frans Sisita, 5 Nico van der Hoogt, 4 Chris Ehlers, 3 Heinrich Roelfse, 2 Elandre Huggett, 1 Gerard Baard.
Subs: 16 Hannes Snyman, 17 Daniel van der Merwe, 18 Erik le Roux, 19 Martin Sithole, 20 Oshwill Nortje, 21 Franna du Toit, 22 Wynand Pienaar.
Valke – 15 Jaun Kotze, 14 Dirk Dippenaar, 13 Andrew van Wyk, 12 Willie Odendaal, 11 Coert Cronjé, 10 Clinton Swart, 9 Anrich Richter, 8 Ernst Ladendorf, 7 Jacques Verwey (c), 6 JP Jonck, 5 Jacques Alberts, 4 Shane Kirkwood, 3 Nico Pretorius, 2 Dean Muir, 1 Bruce Muller.
Subs: 16 Devin Hope, 17 Thulani Ngidi, 18 Marlyn Williams, 19 JP Mostert, 20 Jaco Snyman, 21 Kyle Hendricks, 22 Dewald Pretorius.
Photo: Lee Warren/Gallo Images