KwaZulu-Natal nails promotion at SA IPT

KwaZulu-Natal earned the coveted promotion in the 56th South African Inter-Provincial Championship, sponsored by Tempest, with an unbeaten performance at the Fish River Sun Country Club on Friday.

The 2009 champions defeated Eastern Province 6.5 – 5.5 in an epic B battle for supremacy to seal a long-awaited return to the A-Section.

Having come through the first matches unscathed, KwaZulu-Natal carried a two point advantage into the final round tussle with Eastern Province. The side quickly asserted themselves with a 2.5 – 1.5 lead in the foursomes, but it was still too early to call.

The singles went right down to the wire as the men in black won four games, but Eastern Province also took four.

“Eastern Province really stepped up the challenge in the singles, so it was our performance in the foursomes that really did the damage,” said elated KZN manager Ivan Curlewis.

“Our skipper Gavin Sole and Louis Albertse were lethal all week in the first game out, but this time it was our youngsters Matt Saulez and Siyanda Mwandla who put us on the attack with a 5 & 4 win. Gavin and Louis won their game 3 & 2 and Malcolm Mitchell and Clayton Mansfield got us that vital halve against Fezekile Kana and Andile Adam, who were firing today.”

Eastern Province’s Dylan Germshuys claimed the first scalp in the singles when he downed Albertse 4 & 3, but Gregory McKay and Mansfield put KwaZulu-Natal in front again when they won 3 & 2 against Luke Jerling and Hando Brophy respectively.

Alan Lones beat Mwandla 3 & 2 and Adam took down Saulez 3 & 2 to put Eastern Cape back in the fight, but after Kyle de Beer defeated Sole 1-up, Mitchell clinched the match with a 2 & 1 victory over Kana.

“It was an up-and-down battle right up until the end, but we had that little edge at the start that kept us in front,” said Curlewis. Words cannot describe how proud I am right now of this team, because it’s been a long fight back since our relegation three years ago.

“When we narrowly missed out on promotion at Glendower last year, it was a hard pill to swallow, but the team came back from that disappointment and showed a lot of character this year.

“We don’t have stars on our team, but I must congratulate Louis, Clayton and Malcolm, who shared the number one spot on the Most Valuable Player list. I also have to mention Gavin, who led the team brilliantly while playing his heart out, and it is not surprising that he finished fourth on the MWP list.

“I am so proud of the spirit with which our players contested this championship. Every one fought until the last putt in every match. They never gave up and they done the KZN union incredibly proud.”

Eastern Province took a close second in the log, with North West hanging on to third place after losing 5.5 – 6.5 to fourth-placed Free State.

Border took fifth and Mpumalanga finished in sixth place after pummelling Limpopo 9.5 – 2.5 in the final match of the final round.

Eastern Province 5.5 vs KwaZulu-Natal 6.5
Mpumalanga 9.5 vs Limpopo 2.5
North West 5.5 vs Free State 6.5

(Pos-Union-Played-Won-Drawn-Lost-Points-Matches won)
1 KwaZulu-Natal (6, 6, 0, 0, 12, 53)
2 Eastern Province (6, 4, 0, 2, 8, 45)
3 North West (6, 4, 0, 2, 8, 43.5)
4 Free State (6, 3, 0, 3, 6, 34)
5 Border (6, 2, 0, 4, 4, 33)
6 Mpumalanga (6, 2, 0, 4, 4, 29.5)
7 Limpopo (6, 0, 0, 6, 0, 14)

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.

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