BLOEMFONTEIN (11 October 2012) – While the final round of the South African Mid-Amateur Inter-Provincial will come down to a epic battle between KwaZulu-Natal, the Western Province and Central Gauteng, the North West Province leapfrogged hosts Free State & Northern Cape to seal their A-Section promotion in Thursday’s fourth round at Schoeman Park in Bloemfontein.
After Mpumalanga left the tournament due to a vehicle accident on Wednesday, the local favourites had a nervous wait to see if Border or Limpopo could derail the North West machine.
To their chagrin, the North West Province thumped Border 9-3 and handed Limpopo a 9.5-2.5 to top the log with eight points and games count of 39, finishing one point ahead of the hosts.
“We are absolutely delighted with the result,” said manager Coenie Schoonhoven.
“The guys showed a lot of character this weak and they had a real never-say-die attitude that carried us over the winning line. Even when we were down, we handled all our matches well and kept up a fighting spirit to the end. We had four wins and one close loss and that was our best performance in the last three years of this championship.
“The last two matches against Limpopo and Border were very tight. A lot of singles went down the wire, but we didn’t lose a single match at the 18th and that has been the key to our campaign this week. It’s great to know that, after two years battling in the bottom order in the B-Section, we will make our A-Section debut next year.”
Meanwhile defending champions KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Province closed the gap Central Gauteng, who took a two point lead on Wednesday.
Central failed to improve their position after taking a 7-5 knock from the Western Province and KwaZulu-Natal downed Ekurhuleni by the same margin. Tied at six points each, Central – with 28.5 games count – held on to a slender one game advantage over KwaZulu-Natal and is 3.5 games clear of the Western Province.
But Central will have to come up with the goods against KwaZulu-Natal in Friday’s fight for supremacy, because Western Province could provide the fireworks.
Should the side turn in a comprehensive victory against Boland, they have every chance of winning the championship if the match between the two top teams result in a close result or draw.
Thursday’s loss to KwaZulu-Natal dropped Ekurhuleni out of the race for glory, but the 2010 champions can expect a tough match against the Eastern Province,.
The Eastern Province hug the bottom of the log with no points and a games count of 11.5, but in the face of relegation on Friday, the Eastern Province will be playing for pride in their last A-Section match in this year’s championship.
FOURTH ROUND RESULTS
KwaZulu-Natal 7 vs Ekurhuleni 5
Boland 9.5 vs Eastern Province 2.5
Central Gauteng 5 vs Western Province 7
Limpopo 5.5 vs Border 6.5
Limpopo 2.5 vs North West 9.5
Border 3 vs North West 9
Southern Cape 3 vs Gauteng North 9
1 Central Gauteng (4, 3, 0, 1, 6, 28.5)
2 KwaZulu-Natal (4, 3, 0, 1, 6, 27.5)
3 Western Province (4, 3, 0, 1, 6, 25.0)
4 Ekurhuleni (4, 2, 0, 2, 4, 26.0)
5 Boland (4, 1, 0, 3, 2, 25.5)
6 Eastern Province (4, 0, 0, 4, 0, 11.5)
1 North West (5, 4, 0, 1, 8, 39.0)
2 Free State & Northern Cape (5, 3, 1, 1, 7, 36.0)
3 Border (4, 2, 1, 1, 5, 22.0)
4 Gauteng North (4, 2, 0, 2, 4, 25.5)
5 Limpopo (4, 1, 0, 3, 2, 17.5)
6 Southern Cape (4, 0, 0, 4, 0, 16.0)