BLOEMFONTEIN (8 October 2012) – The Ekurhuleni team delivered the first upset at this year’s South African Mid-Amateur Inter-Provincial when they thumped Western Province 9-3 in Monday’s opening round at Schoeman Park.
The 2010 winners took an early 3-1 lead in the foursomes and kept the momentum in the singles, winning six of the eight games to hand the Cape side a comprehensive beating.
Although his team batted well from one to eight, Ekurhuleni manager Martin Saaiman said he was especially impressed with the country’s number one ranked mid-amateur, Graeme Watson, and the commitment from Rowan du Preez.
“Graeme faced Robbie Oosthuizen, an IPT veteran, in the singles and we expected a tough match,” explained Saaiman. “Graeme showed exactly why he has won three times this year and earned his Springbok colours recently when he beat Robbie 6&5.
“Rowan has to be one of the most tenacious fighters on our team. He was down early in his match, but he never relented. He fought back slowly and took his match to the last hole for a win. I wanted a solid start from the team and all the guys delivered.”
Defending champions KwaZulu-Natal started as they mean to finish against Eastern Province.
The two teams were level at 2-all after the foursomes, but the coastal side dominated the singles for a 9-3 result, losing just one match to EP’s John Luddick.
EP manager Barry Snyman said his team struggled with the pressure in their debut A-Division match.
“We didn’t realise just how tight the matches are in the A-Division,” explained Snyman.
“In the B-Division you can still afford to start with a deficit after the foursomes or to drop a match in the singles. I think today was a real wake-up call for the guys. We won’t make any changes to the line-up or combinations, but we will tighten up our games. I expect the guys to put in a much improved performance against Boland on Tuesday.”
Meanwhile Boland also suffered at the hands of last year’s runners-up, Central Gauteng, who beat them 7-5.
Chasing promotion, local favourites Free State & Northern Cape scored a comprehensive 8-4 victory over Gauteng North but drew their match 6-6 against Border.
Hendrik Burger and Joseph Fourie, who has been the side’s most valuable player for the last three years, won both their singles, won their foursomes against Gauteng North and halved against Border.
“It’s early days yet, but I’m happy with the start the team made,” said manager Alec Levin.
“We are determined to use our home course advantage, so we’ll take things round by round. It’s a good start to build on, though.”
In the other B-Section matches, relegated Mpumalanga began their promotion campaign with a 7½ – 4½ win over Limpopo and a 6½ – 5½ loss to Southern Cape.
Limpopo evened the score by beating Southern Cape 6½ – 5½ and Border beat Gauteng North by the same margin.
FIRST ROUND RESULTS
Ekurhuleni beat Western Province 9-3
KwaZulu-Natal beat Eastern Province 9-3
Central Gauteng beat Boland 7-5
Free State & Northern Cape beat Gauteng North 8-4
Free State & Northern Cape halved Border 6-6
Border beat Gauteng North 6½ – 5½
Mpumalanga beat Limpopo 7½ – 4½
Southern Cape beat Mpumalanga 7½ – 4½
Limpopo beat Southern Cape 6½ – 5½