DURBAN (18 September 2013) – The weather proved the ultimate decision maker in the final round of the South African Mid-Amateur Inter-Provincial, as Western Province held off KwaZulu-Natal to claim the A-Section title and Eastern Province edged out Southern Cape for B-Section promotion at Durban Country Club on Friday.
Play got underway as planned, but incessant rain triggered an hour and 40 minute suspension from 15h10 when the greens got water-logged and failing light caused play to be called off altogether, with log leaders Province and Central Gauteng still on the course.
Province topped the log at eight points and took a two point lead over the local heroes into their final match. However, KwaZulu-Natal levelled the score with a narrow 6.5 – 5.5 win over Boland and had settled in, awaiting the result between Province and the defending champions.
When play was called off, only Province number one Gerlou Roux was finished, having lost his game to Steve Williams 5&4. The rest of the games were still around the 11th and 12th holes, but under the rules of the tournament, the status of the games stand once the players have played through nine holes.
Province looked to be in real trouble as they headed back to the clubhouse 5-7 down, but in the ensuing count-out, it transpired that the Cape side had done enough in their previous matches to beat KwaZulu-Natal by one game point.
The final games count was 36.5 – 35.5,
“I don’t think anyone expected this to happen and it was obviously not ideal for everyone, but that is the way things played out this year,” said Province manager Eric Lefson.
“We last won the title in 2007 and we’ve collected the bridesmaid tag for the last four years, so to finally get the victory is fantastic. The guys prepared well for this week and they left it all out there. They gave everything and in the end, it was enough to see us through.”
In the remaining match, Ekurhuleni marched off the course as the victors, handing North West a 10.5 – 1.5 drubbing, which lifted the side to third in the final standings. Central Gauteng finished fourth, North West fifth and Boland, thoroughly beaten all week, were the reluctant recipients of the wooden spoon.
Meanwhile the three-way tie battle for promotion between Eastern Province, Free State & Northern Cape and Southern Cape also headed for a count-out.
Eastern Province knocked Free State & Northern Cape from the race with an 8 – 4 win, but Southern Cape launched a spirited run at the title with an 11.5 – 0.5 result against Limpopo. Their efforts were in vain, though, as they came up two game points short in the final count-out.
Eastern Province manager Joseph Matiwana said the team was thrilled with the result.
“We were gutted last year when we were relegated just 12 months after making it into the A-Section, so you would be right if you say we came here to prove a point,” he said.
“It went down the wire with Southern Cape, but we have pulled it off and all that matters is that we will have the chance to show next year that we really belong in the top flight.”
KwaZulu-Natal 6.5 vs Boland 5.5
Ekurhuleni 10.5 vs North West 1.5
Western Province 5 vs Central Gauteng 7.0
1 Western Province (5, 4, 0, 1, 8, 36.5)
2 KwaZulu-Natal (5, 4, 0, 1, 8, 35.5)
3 Ekurhuleni (5, 3, 0, 2, 6, 33.5)
4 Central Gauteng (5, 3, 0, 2, 6, 30.5)
5 North West (5, 1, 0, 4, 2, 21.5)
6 Boland (5, 0, 0, 5, 0, 22.5)
Limpopo 0.5 vs Southern Cape 11.5
Border 7.5 vs Gauteng North 4.5
Eastern Province 8 vs Free State & Northern Cape 4
1 Eastern Province (6, 5, 0, 1, 10, 47)
2 Southern Cape (6, 4, 2, 0, 10, 45)
3 Free State & Northern Cape (6, 3, 2, 1, 8, 40.5)
4 Border (6, 3, 1, 2, 7, 37.5)
5 Gauteng North (6, 2, 1, 3, 5, 36)
6 Mpumalanga (6, 1, 0, 5, 2, 30.5)
7 Limpopo (6, 0, 0, 6, 0, 15.5)