The Cheetahs secured their first win of the Currie Cup season with a comprehensive 31-9 triumph over Griquas in Kimberley on Friday.
Rayno Benjamin crossed in the first half, while Fred Zeilinga, Sergeal Petersen and Gerhard Olivier went over after the break for Franco Smith's side.
Zeilinga finished with a 16-point haul as he also added four conversions and a penalty.
The home side showed little enterprise on attack and only had three first half penalties, from the boot of Ntabeni Dukisa, to show for their efforts.
The first half was an even affair, although the Cheetahs will feel they didn't make full use of all their opportunities.
Raymond Rhule and Sergeal Petersen combined brilliantly to set Benjamin up for his try. Rhule did well to draw in two defenders before throwing an inside pass to Petersen who then offloaded to the on-rushing Benjamin, who scored under the posts.
Earlier, Dukisa opened the scoring via his first penalty in the eighth minute after Caylib Oosthuizen was penalised for an indiscretion at a scrum.
After Benjamin's try, Zeilinga added a penalty on the half-hour mark before Dukisa replied with two three-pointers from the kicking tee which meant the visitors held a 10-9 lead at the break.
The Cheetahs were fastest out of the blocks after the restart, and scored three unanswered tries during a 10 minute spell in which they stepped up a gear on attack.
Zeilinga crossed over for his try in the 47th minute, after ghosting through a gap in Griquas' defence, and two minutes later Petersen crossed over in the right-hand corner after Rhule and Francois Venter played prominent roles in the build-up.
Griquas were then reduced to 14 men when Ewald van der Westhuizen was sent to the sin bin, after deliberately collapsing a maul just outside his 22.
Shortly afterwards, the Cheetahs secured their try-scoring bonus-point when Gerhard Olivier barged over from a line-out drive deep inside Griquas' 22.
That was the final nail in Griquas' coffin and although Cheetahs prop Maks van Dyk was also yellow carded, for voicing his disappointment with a decision from referee Lesego Legoete, that didn't affect the Cheetahs who kept their hosts at bay with a solid defensive effort.
Pens: Dukisa 3
Yellow card: Van der Westhuizen
For Free State Cheetahs:
Tries: Benjamin, Petersen, Zeilinga, Olivier
Cons: Zeilinga 4
Yellow card: Van Dyk
Griquas: 15 Riaan Viljoen, 14 Sandile Ngcobo, 13 Ruhan Nel, 12 Michael Van Der Spuy, 11 Ntabeni Dukisa, 10 Francois Brummer, 9 Tian Meyer (captain), 8 Carel Greeff, 7 Johan Wessels, 6 Hilton Lobberts, 5 Jaco Nepgen, 4 Jonathan Adendorf, 3 Stephan Kotze, 2 AJ Le Roux, 1 Steph Roberts.
Replacements: 16 Martin Bezuidenhout, 17 Danie Mienie, 18 Ewald van der Westhuizen, 19 Hugo Kloppers, 20 RJ Liebenberg, 21 Rudi van Rooyen, 22 Clinton Swart.
Free State Cheetahs: 15 Clayton Blommetjies, 14 Sergeal Petersen, 13 Francois Venter, 12 Rayno Benjamin, 11 Raymond Rhule, 10 Fred Zeilinga, 9 Shaun Venter, 8 Niell Jordaan, 7 Henco Venter, 6 Gerhard Olivier, 5 Francois Uys (captain), 4 Armandt Koster, 3 Luan de Bruin, 2 Jacques du Toit, 1 Caylib Oosthuizen.
Replacements: 16 Elandre Huggett, 17 Maks van Dyk, 18 Reniel Hugo, 19 Tienie Burger, 20 Freddy Ngoza, 21 Ruan van Rensburg, 22 Sias Ebersohn
Referee: Lesego Legoete