Showdowns looming at SA Mid-Amateur IPT
The Western Province drew a bold line under their intention to win this year’s South African Mid-Amateur Inter-Provincial when they defeated KwaZulu-Natal in the fourth round at Durban Country Club on Thursday.
Province didn’t quite wipe the floor with their opponents, but they did derail KwaZulu-Natal’s winning record and put the locals on alert for Friday’s final round. Their 7.5 – 4.5 victory lifted Province to top of the standings, and with one match to go, team manager Eric Lefson is quietly optimistic.
“We are well on our way, but we are definitely not going to get ahead of ourselves,” Lefson said. “We are playing Central Gauteng on Friday and we definitely don’t want a repeat of Irene in 2009.
“We were in the same position and lost our final match to Central, effectively handing the title to KwaZulu-Natal. So we will start from scratch and keep up the pressure.”
Lefson’s charges squared the foursomes and rallied strongly in the singles.
SA number three Gerlou Roux drew first blood with a 6&5 win over Lyall McNeil and reigning SA Mid-Amateur Stroke Play champion Greg Sheard secured their second point when he downed former professional Bradley Davison 5&4.
Elvin Nel, Dirk van der Merwe and Cameron Johnston added the other points, while Francois le Roux, halved his match against Brendan Adlam.
“The wind finally gave us a break in the afternoon and the guys took advantage of the good weather and stepped it up,” said Lefson. “I am really proud of the way the players have handled themselves this week. The team really play for each other and they are fully committed. We only have one hurdle to cross, but I know they will give it their best effort.”
Meanwhile North West defeated Boland 8 – 4, while defending champions Central Gauteng bowed to Ekurhuleni 4 – 8.
The local heroes may be in the last chance saloon, but the side could still cause a major upset.
As the log stands, Province is two points ahead and has 31.5 games points. Should Province lose to Central or win by a small margin and KwaZulu-Natal hand Boland a comprehensive beating, there could still be celebrations across the province on Friday night.
In the battle for promotion, matters are equally fraught and the B-Section could well be heading to a games points count-out, as well.
Southern Cape joined into a three-way tie at the top of the standings after whipping Border 7.5 – 4.5, but with the Eastern Province going head-to-head with Free State & Northern Cape, the Garden Route side has an outside chance of promotion.
All three teams have eight points, but Eastern Province will carry a slight edge into the final round on 39 games points. With Free State second on 36.5 and Southern Cape third on 33.5 points, the Garden Route team needs a near white wash against Limpopo to overtake the joint leaders.
In the remaining fourth round matches, Gauteng North enjoyed a good day at the office with a 7.5 – 4.5 victory over Mpumalanga and an 8 – 4 result against Limpopo and moved to fourth on the grid. Mpumalanga also beat Limpopo 8.5 – 3.5.