GAP Despatch made it into the qualifying stages of the Cell C Community Cup when they defeated Pool A rivals SK Walmers 37-32 in their rugby clash in Cape Town at the weekend.
Needing a win to book their berth in the Easter Championship in George, Despatch rose to the occasion, but now face a daunting challenge in their opening match next Thursday against the unbeaten Pretoria Police side.
A pulsating final weekend of pool action saw Evergreens, from South Western Districts, book their ticket with a injury-time try and wild cards Raiders' hearts broken with a missed conversion after the final hooter.
Despatch will be go to George as the second-placed Pool A side after a hard-fought away win over wild card team, SK Walmers.
But all the drama took place in Pools C and D, with Evergreens coming from behind to beat Roses United 28-13 at the Pacaltsdorp Sports Grounds and Raiders clawing their way back to draw 30-all with Rustenburg Impala in Johannesburg, only to fall agonisingly short of qualification.
Needing to win with a bonus point, an error-strewn Evergreens were outplayed for large sections of the match by the Boland wild cards and held on to a slender 14-13 lead going into the final 10 minutes.
But they scored two late tries by Marvin November and Gerschwin Muller to secure their playoffs berth.
In Johannesburg, fullback Anvor Schooney missed a straightforward conversion after the final hooter that would not only have given Raiders a 32-30 victory over Rustenburg Impala but would also have booked his team a quarterfinal spot.