Mpumalanga provides fireworks while Gauteng teams get going at SA IPT
At the end of round two at the 51st South African Inter-Provincial, a satisfied Gauteng North team celebrated a decisive victory over KwaZulu-Natal by settling in the ladies locker room at Bloemfontein Golf Club for a bit of physiotherapy.
After an average performance on Monday that resulted in a draw with Western Province, the youthful side were firing on all cylinders. An 8½ – 3½ result against KwaZulu-Natal removed any doubt that 12 months after promotion, the Gauteng North are gunning for glory.
But a couple of doors down in the clubhouse bar, a jubilant Mpumalanga team were raising their glasses to manager Barrie Kok.
It was the first time in two years under Kok’s leadership that the eight-man up country squad tasted success in the B-Division at the IPT, but they did it in style, edging out North West 6½ – 5½ for their first triumph and continuing their winning march with a solid 7½ – 4½ conquest over host side, Free State & Northern Cape.
“They has worked really hard towards this day,” said Kok through his own large grin. “The guys are simply thrilled to bits. Even though we still have a long way to go, nothing can take away their success today and I hope this inspires greatness in them all for the rest of the week.
“I’ll remind them later that we still have to take things one step at a time but for right now, we are going to push the boat out.”
And while Gauteng North hammered KwaZulu-Natal, Central Gauteng launched a solid comeback of their own and throw down the gauntlet to the neighbours in the North.
Smarting after narrow one point win over Boland on Monday, the six new caps stepped it up and played to their full potential.
The rookies enjoyed a whitewash in their foursomes and Michael Dixon, Muzi Nethunswi, Graham van der Merwe and Haydn Porteous continued their dominance in the singles, winning four more games to help the team to hand Southern Cape a 9½ – 2½ drumming.
“We all gained experience playing in the U-23 IPT and the Challenge Tournament, but it’s a big deal to tee it up in the national Inter-Provincial,” said 17-year-old Porteous, ranked third in the country.
“It’s a big tournament and it was just a little overwhelming on day one. We’re settled now.”
Western Province will certainly give the celebrations a miss.
After a draw in the first round, rivals Boland put the defending champions on the back foot in the foursomes with a 3½-½ margin and just kept piling the pressure on.
While 16-year-old Dylan Raubenheimer and Lean Boezaart added two important points, MG Keyser halved his game with Mark Mahoney and Boland won the next four successive games before Justin Turner stopped the bleeding with a 2-Up win over Francois Haughton.
“We had the same kind of lead against Central on Monday, but we threw it away,” said Boland manager Servaas de Kock. “We were determined not to let that happen against WP. I am really satisfied with how everyone in the team stepped it up. It’s a great result for us.”
Eastern Province captain Anton Prinsloo was just as delighted to force a half against Limpopo.
“We were really up against it in the foursomes,” said Prinsloo. “I don’t know how, but we managed to claw back two points to level the score.”
But is was in fact the skipper and Kyle Stevens that claimed one of those crucial points by beating CJ du Plessis and Hilton Hughes at the 18th, backed up by a 2&1 win from the final pairing of Andre van Staden and Naldo Claassen.
“Mzuyanda (Zigela) won our first point in the singles, but we had our backs against the wall all the way. Limpopo didn’t give us an inch and made us work for every point, so I’ll take six all any day.”
For full results click here