The win marked the Capetonians' fifth in a row in the competition and saw them leap up on the log with three league games remaining – two of which are home games, which places them in a comfortable position for a quarter-final place.
The first half was a hard-fought affair with both teams trying hard to breach the defence in the first quarter with no success, resulting in DHL Stormers flyhalf Manie Libbok and his opposite number Chris Smith exchanging penalty goals, but a late try by the hosts’ Hacjivah Dayimani (flank) on the stroke of halftime, saw them take a 10-3 lead at the break.
The second half was much more competitive, with the Pretoria outfit scoring two converted tries by Canan Moodie (wing) and Elrigh Louw (flank), while they limited the hosts to a drop goal by fullback Damian Willemse and two penalty goals by Libbok to seal the win.
The Vodacom Bulls threatened early on with a nice charge down the sideline by scrumhalf Zak Burger, who chipped and chased, but they were unable to gather the ball and make the most of the chance.
The first points of the match were scored in the 14th minute as Smith kicked penalty goal after a breakdown penalty, but Libbok cancelled this out 12 minutes later with a three-pointer of his own to level the scores.
Smith had another opportunity to double their score in the 31st minute, but his shot at goal proved unsuccessful, and the visitors continued to show their fighting spirit as the game breathed a new life in the dying minutes of the opening stanza with the Pretoria side getting over the tryline after some good play, only for the ball to be held up.
The DHL Stormers eventually broke through for the first try on the stroke of halftime as Dayimani forced his way through the defence close to the tryline and Libbok added the extra two to hand the team a 10-3 halftime lead.
The Vodacom Bulls struck back with intent minutes into the second half as wing Moodie received the ball out wide following some innovative and urgent attacking play by the hosts and he put on the gas to cross the chalk, with Smith’s conversion levelling the scores at 10-10.
Libbok added back-to-back penalty goals within quick succession to nudge his team back into the lead, as tries proved hard to come by with both teams showing true determination on defence, and Willemse added a vital drop goal in the 70th minute to push their lead to nine points.
The Vodacom Bulls hit back with as Kurt-Lee Arendse (fullback) made a brilliant break close to the touchline where he lost the ball forward following a high tackle by Dayimani, who received a yellow card for the offence, which reduced to the hosts to 14 men in the vital stages of the match.
The visitors took full advantage of this with Elrigh Louw (No 8) crashing over under the uprights soon after and the successful conversion saw them trail by 19-17 with close to six minutes to play.
This score remained until the final whistle, and it was the hosts who came out on top to retain their place as the top SA side in the competition.
DHL Stormers 19 (10) – Try: Hacjivah Dayimani. Conversion: Manie Libbok. Penalty goals: Libbok (3). Drop goal: Damian Willemse.
Vodacom Bulls 17 (3) - Tries: Canan Moodie, Elrigh Louw. Conversions: Chris Smith, Morne Steyn. Penalty goal: Smith.