It had been 609 days since Graham Purdy last set foot in a dugout, the longest he’s ever been away from the beautiful game and with the return of Promotional League football, it was good to be back.

The first round fixtures saw some tantalizing encounters with many first-eleven lineups being revealed for the first time.

Vasco da Gama’s first team pose for the first time since last playing competitively in 2019.

Table View, where chairman Paul Nathan has doubles up as Team Manager, had a chance to show off their new squad after being promoted at the end of 2019. However, the side’s trip to Durbanville ended in a point a piece with neither team able to break the deadlock and the game ending 0-0.

Not too far down the road, Bellville City did well to equalize against Rygersdal just after half time but three goals late in the second half saw the visitors walk away with all three points posting a 4-1 scoreline.

Saxon Rovers demolished a young spirited Hanover Park side 10-0 while FN Rangers ended 3-0 against Vasco da Gama who, like Hanover Park, also have a team in the Men’s Regional Third Division.

“Like Graham [Purdy] said, it’s an amazing feeling to have played our first league match since 609 days ago,” said the refreshed Grant Lesch, Vasco da Gama’s head coach.

The full-time Good Hope FM DJ continued: “The game started off at a high tempo with both teams looking very organized. Rangers took the lead then scored the second a few minutes later.

“We went into the break two down and with the score at 2-0, and nothing to lose, we came out guns blazing for the first 15 minutes of the second half – but we just couldn’t get that much needed goal.”

Lesch’s side went down to 10-men when Valentino Moloto fell and dislocated his shoulder. With just 15 players on the team sheet due to a shortage of cards, including two Reserve team players with niggling injuries, not even the temporary five-substitution relief helped the coach as he had no-one left to turn to on the bench to make another change.

The doom and gloom didn’t end for Lesch and with a couple already in the back of the net as the final whistle beckoned, the game was topped with a third after an amazing strike by Rangers’ Morne Bennett.

Lesch added in his post-match interview: “I would like to commend the FN Rangers technical team especially “Eier” for offering immediate assistance. It was great sportsmanship”

Traveling sides seemed to have the greatest share of points this weekend as Avendale’s 2-0 win over the second promoted club, Fish Hoek, was arguably a surprise result away from home meanwhile Wynberg st Johns – also away from home – kicked off their season with a 1-0 win over Edgemead.

Wynberg st Johns head coach, Heinrich Gradwell, gives instructions to his side at halftime in their 1-0 win over Edgemead. (Photo: Ivan Timm)
The new Wynberg st Johns kit, supplied by Game On, was another one making its debut in the first game week. (Photo: Ivan Timm)

Relegated from the Regional Third Division in 2019, Kuils River hosted Norway Parks Magic in an exciting match with end-to-end action in an effort to regain their spot in the higher league. Goals from Jehanno Fransman, Luke Daniels and Darryl Rose completed a 3-3 draw with both sides able to gain a point in the end and leave satisfied.

While Rovers will top the log right now through their superior goal difference, it’s still far too early in the game to determine the final outcome.