The Valke’s dominant, bulky pack was able to make life very difficult for the Bulldogs backs, who had to put up with back-foot ball almost throughout the game.
The weather might have been cooler in East London, but the Valke were hot, with flank Jacques Nieuwenhuis, freshly back from France, and flyhalf Karlo Aspeling revelling in the platform provided by their tight forwards.
Aspeling showed the silky handling skills of flyhalves in a bygone era as he dummied his way through for the opening try, in the fifth minute, and his deceptive running also set up the try on the stroke of half-time by centre Willie Odendaal that gave the Valke a 19-6 lead.
The Valke then scored in the first minute of the second half as Nieuwenhuis charged over and, even though the Bulldogs replied with a fine try by eighthman Lubabalo Mzwakali, it was a forlorn enterprise as the Gautengers remained in control and added to their tally with a second try to Namibian international Nieuwenhuis.
Aspeling’s fine game also extended to his kicking, as he also slotted four conversions.
The Valke’s other try came in the 38th minute as they kept things tight and hooker Werner du Preez, a tidy replacement, forced his way over the line.
While Aspeling was one of the standout players, he was well-served by scrumhalf Jaco Snyman, who invariably took the right options. The Valke were also helped by having two formidable locks in Johann de Bruin and Christopher Yearsley.
Border Bulldogs – Try: Lubabalo Mzwakali. Penalties: Reinhard Gerber (2).
Valke – Tries: Karlo Aspeling, Werner du Preez, Willie Odendaal, Jacques Nieuwenhuis (2). Conversions: Aspeling (4).