Western Province has the edge going into SA IPT final round

Western Province team arrived at Pretoria Country Club, having plotted a course to win the 50th South African Inter Provincial title.

So far, things are pretty much going to plan.

On Thursday, the 2008 champions overcame a slight foursomes hiccup to beat Kwazulu-Natal 6½ – 5½ and record their fourth successive victory this week.

It would seem that only a mammoth effort from Southern Cape can derail Province and prevent them from collecting their 16th title on Friday.

Team Manager Henk Smith said he was very impressed by his team’s perseverance, especially after they came through the foursomes trailing by one and a half points. “The guys did everything I asked from them today,” he said. “It was phenomenal to watch the team’s effort.”

Rookie Ryan Strauss made a clutch putt to halve his foursomes match and captain Aaron Russell sunk a birdie putt at the 18th to win his singles match, and push the team’s total to 6½. Smith said that it was pivotal moments in the round that sealed their narrow victory.

“Standing over that putt on the 18th, Ryan knew that half a point could make the difference at the end of the day,” he said. “Ryan understood what he had to do and he delivered under great pressure.

“And Aaron gave us that vital one point under a lot of pressure. What happened today just showed how much character these guys have.”

Smith added that Province will push to the end to keep their winning streak alive against Southern Cape tomorrow.

“We are going all out to win tomorrow,” said Smith. “I believe that to win all five games at the Interprov is an exceptional achievement and it doesn’t happen very often. We did it in 2008 at Hermanus and we are determined to do it again.”

Meanwhile the other A-Section teams completed the foursomes at 2-all.

However, Central Gauteng put their foot down to wipe out the disappointment of two losses by handing Southern Cape a thorough 8½ – 3½ drumming and Boland finally found their passion and thrashed Free State / Northern Cape by the same score.

Western Province now tops the log with four wins and eight points, followed by Kwazulu-Natal on six points with three wins. Central Gauteng is third with four points from two wins.

Boland’s first win in the competition came at an opportune time.

They leapfrogged Southern Cape and Free State / Northern, also with one win each, to place fourth in the log on 23½ game points. Even so, the 2007 champions are not out of the woods just yet and will still need to put up a fight on Friday to avoid relegation.

Undefeated in five bouts, log leaders Gauteng North and Eastern Province will duel on Friday for promotion to the A-Section. Behind them Ekurhuleni vaulted to third on Thursday after beating Limpopo 8½ – 3½.

In other results, Border beat Mpumalanga 7-5 but matched North West 6-6, who in turn trashed Mpumalanga 8-4.

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