NELSPRUIT (19 April 2013) – Gauteng North was in ascendancy once more as they mowed down Limpopo 11.5 to 0.5 to claim the South African U23 Inter Provincial, while the North West province held off a charging KwaZulu-Natal to claim B-Section promotion at Nelspruit Golf Club on Friday.
In the four earlier rounds of the tournament, Gauteng North defeated the Western Province 8.5 – 3.5, downed Southern Cape 6.5 – 5.5, beat defending champions Central Gauteng 7.5 – 4.5 and halved 6-all with Ekurhuleni to top the A-Division log with seven points.
Although their victory was virtually assured, the Gauteng North team were simply superior against Limpopo as they claimed a clean sweep in the morning foursomes and won all their afternoon singles, bar the final match where Limpopo number one Hennie du Plessis forced a halve against his opposite number, Teagan Gauche.
Team manager Johan Struwig said the victory was down to their incredible team spirit.
“Although the team knew that their victory in the tournament was almost sealed, they still approached the match against Limpopo with the same vigour, team spirit and commitment that they showed in their previous four matches.
“It is never easy to win all five games at the IPT, but our aim was not to lose a match. The guys nearly pulled it off with four wins and a halve against Ekurhuleni. They never got ahead of themselves; they played every match on its own merit, they approached every match exactly the same way and they played for other. The team spirit was simply fantastic.”
Meanwhile Ekurhuleni also showed incredible fighting spirit to win their final match and leapfrog Province to claim second place on the final log.
At the start of the final round, the two teams both held five points, but Province had half a games point edge at 25.5 to 25. However, Ekurhuleni claimed the runner-up spot with a decisive with 8.5 – 3.5 victory over Southern Cape, while Central Gauteng thrashed Province 8.5 – 3.5 for their second win.
Province finished third on five points, two behind Ekurhuleni and one point ahead of Central, who beat Limpopo for fourth place with 32 games points to 22.
And, for Southern Cape a winless week meant demotion and making way for the B-Division winners, North West.
As expected, the battle for B-Section promotion did indeed go down the wire between log leaders and second-placed KwaZulu-Natal. The two teams were tied at six points each after four rounds, but North West held half a games point edge going into the final round.
That half point would turn out to make a world of difference when the teams finished tied at 6-all.
“It was a really closely fought contest,” said team manager Hansie Claassen. “KZN won the foursomes 2.5 – 1.5, but our guys fought back to close the gap and level the scores.
“It all came down to the last match between their number one, Bryce Bibby, and our number one, Aubrey Beckley. The game went the full distance, but in the end, they halved the game and we halved the match with KZN. It was truly the perfect outcome for an incredible match played with fantastic spirit from both teams.
“We are very proud to add to the North West province’s Inter-Provincial record. We are the fourth victorious team since our Country Districts won their IPT last June. The Mid-Amateur team won their IPT and both our Senior and Super Senior Teams won their IPTs this April.
“Now our Open Amateurs must just follow suit to make it five in a row.”