BLOEMFONTEIN (12 October 2012) – The Central Gauteng squad invoked the same courage and team spirit that carried the European Team to a come-from-behind victory at the Ryder Cup two weeks ago when they lifted the 2012 South African Mid-Amateur Inter-Provincial title with a stupendous performance at Schoeman Park in Bloemfontein on Friday.
An epic final round battle was expected between the frontrunners, tied for the lead on six points each, but KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Province wilted in the face of the gritty determination and fighting spirit the Central Gauteng side showed in scoring a runaway victory in country’s biggest mid-amateur team competition.
Western Province, needing a big winning margin to beat Central on games count, could do no better than a 7-5 result against their neighbours Boland and this left the way clear for KwaZulu-Natal, trailing by just one game, to retain their title.
But Central Gauteng began as they meant to finish.
After domination the foursomes, Central took a 3½ – ½ lead into the singles and, although they nailed the victory in their first four games, the team continued to drill the coastal side for an unprecedented 10-2 triumph.
“We had a good lead after the foursomes, but the guys never let up,” gushed an ecstatic Central Gauteng manager Marinus Weiss.
“Neil Fusedale drew first blood for us with his ninth win this week when he beat Kevin Forde 5&4. Then our number eight Grant Wood won his match at the 16th. That really fired up the rest of the squad and you could just see the determination from all the players; every man on the team wanted to bring home a win.”
Weiss said that when Central’s number five, David Muller, beat Murray Gilson 3&2 to guarantee the team’s victory in the fourth game, it only inspired his team mates to dig in their heels further.
The team won six of the eight singles games, with Stephen Johnson halving his match against Gerry Coetzee and Steve Williams, playing at number one, losing to Llyall McNeill at the 17th.
“Although they knew the had the title, the guys still kept fighting, playing for each other and supporting each other,” said Weiss.
“It was a fantastic effort from every guy on the team. They batted well from one to eight. The match was played in a great spirit between the two teams, but I don’t think I’ve never seen team spirit like my guys showed today.”
In the final A-Section match, Ekurhuleni handed the Eastern Province a 9½ – 2½ drumming to finish fourth on the final log.
KwaZulu-Natal placed second, the Western Province third and Boland managed to avoid regulation with their fourth round victory over EP, who earned the wooden spoon and was relegated just a year after they battled to a hard-earned promotion at Humewood.
Meanwhile the North West Province, having scored eight points to deny Free State & Northern Cape by one, earned promotion and will replace the Eastern Province in the A-Section at the 2013 championship.
FINAL ROUND RESULTS
Central Gauteng 10 vs KwaZulu Natal 2
Western Province 7 vs Boland 5
Ekurhuleni 9.5 vs Eastern Province 2.5
Limpopo 6.5 vs Gauteng North 5.5
Southern Cape 6.5 vs Border 5.5
1 Central Gauteng (5, 4, 0, 1, 8,38.5)
2 Western Province (5, 4, 0, 1, 8,32.0)
3 Ekurhuleni (5, 3, 0, 2, 6,35.5)
4 KwaZulu-Natal (5, 3, 0, 2, 6,29.5)
5 Boland (5, 1, 0, 4, 2,30.5)
6 Eastern Province (5, 0, 0, 5, 0,14.0)
1 North West (5, 4, 0, 1, 8,39.0)
2 Free State & Northern Cape (5, 3, 1, 1, 7,36.0)
3 Border (5, 2, 1, 2, 5,27.5)
4 Gauteng North (5, 2, 0, 3, 4,31.0)
5 Limpopo (5, 2, 0, 3, 4,24.0)
6 Southern Cape (5, 1, 0, 4, 2,22.5)
7 Mpumalanga (0, 0, 0, 0, 0,0.0) [withdrew due to a motor vehicle accident]