The match between the two bottom teams on the log was a highly-entertaining affair and it ended with the Valke having stretched their lead over the winless Bulldogs to 12 points.
The Valke led throughout the match and always seemed in control, Border scoring three tries in the last 15 minutes to narrow the final scoreline from 38-17.
The Bulldogs battled to contain the powerful Valke pack and the home side’s forwards started superbly when they kept a rolling maul going long enough for eighthman Reg Muller to plunge over the tryline in the fifth minute.
The conversion from flyhalf Karlo Aspeling was good, but the Bulldogs were on the scoreboard 12 minutes later when flyhalf Jannie Myburgh kicked a penalty (7-3).
The Valke’s second try came via the pace of right wing Sandile Nqcobo, with the conversion from Aspeling stretching their lead to 14-3 in the 20th minute.
Elusive Border scrumhalf Lesley-Dean Luiter evaded the defence to score a try against the run of play in the 26th minute, converted by Myburgh (14-10), but the Valke then lay down the law with two more tries before half-time.
Replacement flank Jacques Alberts bashed his way over the line in the 34th minute, Aspeling missing the conversion. But the disappointment was only temporary as, moments later, fullback JW Bell was strolling over the tryline as well.
Aspeling’s conversion meant the Bulldogs started the second half with a 16-point deficit and they really needed to score first after the break.
But it was the Valke who grabbed the initiative and, nine minutes after half-time, Muller timed his supporting run to perfection and crossed for his second try.
Aspeling converted and now the Bulldogs were in dire straits with a 10-33 deficit.
Veteran Gareth Krause broke through the middle of the ruck from five metres out to rumble over for a converted try, but a sustained period of pressure in the Border half saw centre Hendrik Meyer score a try which gave the Eastern Gautengers a 38-17 lead.
With their whole bench now in action, the Bulldogs staged a gutsy fightback in the last 15 minutes. Replacement lock Tongs Nomani crashed over for a try in the shadow of the posts, converted by replacement flyhalf Reinhard Gerber.
Flank Brian Shabangu, who played very well to the ball the whole match, was then in support in the 75th minute to score the visitors’ bonus-point try and outside centre Ruan Jacobs closed the gap even further when he beat the defence with some nifty footwork to score the last try of the match.
Replacement wing Louis Kruger succeeded with the conversion so the Bulldogs could at least leave Kempton Park with some pride restored … and with two bonus points.
Valke – Tries: Reg Muller (2), Sandile Nqcobo, Jacques Alberts, JW Bell, Hendrik Meyer. Conversions: Karlo Aspeling (4).
Border Bulldogs – Tries: Lesley-Dean Luiter, Gareth Krause, Tongs Nomani, Brian Shabangu, Ruan Jacobs. Conversions: Jannie Myburgh, Reinhard Gerber (2), Louis Kruger. Penalty: Myburgh.