Ekurhuleni pulled one out of the bag, Southern Cape and Central Gauteng moved into the pound seats and Free State drew a bold line under their intention to win the battle for promotion in Thursday’s fourth of the 57th South African Inter-Provincial, sponsored by Tempest, at Bryanston Country Club.
Central Gauteng scored a convincing 7 – 5 victory against KwaZulu-Natal and dislodged the log leaders for the top spot of A-Section rankings, while Southern Cape kept their title defence alive when number one Nicholas Mitchell boxed a clutch putt at the 18th to guarantee a 6.5 – 5.5 result against Gauteng North.
Gavin Sole from Southbroom is the captain of the KwaZulu-Natal side, which include Malcolm Mitchell, Matt Saulez, Jason Broomhead, Clayton Mansfield, Siyanda Mwandla, Derek Scullard and Gregory Mckay. Ivan Curlewis from Margate is the manager of the team.
Central Gauteng and Southern Cape have six points each, but the host union has the games point advantage. They will start their final match against Western Province with 27.5 and the Garden Route side, taking on Ekurhuleni, has 25.5 games points in hand.
In the final match, things certainly didn’t go as expected. Popular opinion had Western Province down for a win, but Ekurhuleni did not get the memo.
After three successive losses, South Africa’s number one ranked Kyle McClatchie and partner Aneurin Gounden got a 5 & 4 win and Angus Ellis-Cole and new cap Jordan Burnand squared the foursomes.
Province held sway in the first couple of singles, when 14-year-old Yurav Premlall lost 7 & 6 to IPT veteran Cameron Johnston, while Gounden and 13-year-old Nash de Klerk both went down 4 & 3, but McClatchie stoked the fire when he mowed down opposite number Carlo O’Reilly 6 & 5.
“That win by Kyle really sparked a great comeback,” said manager Gavin Homan. “The rest of the guys put their foot on the pedal and just kept it there.”
New cap Vaughn van Deventer turned his game around with three successive birdies from 14 to beat Adrian Ford 3 & 2. Burnand squared his match against Gerlou Roux at the 10th, but the two-time SA Mid-Amateur champion regained the advantage with an eagle at 17.
One down playing the last, Burnand hit his second shot into 18 short of the green.
“Gerlou was on the green in two and Jordan was on a downhill slope below the green with very little room to work with,” said skipper McClatchie. “Then he chipped it in and put all the pressure on Gerlou to make the birdie to win the hole. Gerlou missed and they halved.”
It came down to 14-year-old Casey Jarvis, who made his eighth hole-in-one in Wednesday’s second round, and Angus-Cole.
Jarvis was into the top order and faced Province number two Chris Wicks, who burst from the blocks with successive birdies and kept the advantage until a bogey at seven.
“Casey and Chris halved the next five holes,” said Homan. “When Chris dropped 13, Casey took the gap. He birdied 15 to go 2-up and when Wicks eagled 17, Casey matched him, holing a 30-footer to win the game 2 & 1.
“The game between Angus and Elmo (Barnard) was very tight throughout, never going more than 1-up or down either way. Angus dropped at 15 and was all-square after another bogey at 17 when we let him know it was up to him to win the match.
“He flew the green with his second at 18 and was in the first cut, and Elmo got his second on the dance floor .Then Angus hit an unbelieve putt from a 30-foot to inside a foot and when Elmo missed his birdie chance, Angus tapped to halve that secured us the win.
“Central Gauteng’s manager Jaco du Plessis called it on Monday when he said that these boys are very talented and once they got over the stage fright, they would step it up in a big way. The new players have definitely relaxed and they are starting to play their own games. We are more than ready to take on Southern Cape in the final round.”
Meanwhile Free State strengthened their case for promotion with runaway victories against Border and Limpopo, beating both sides 10 – 2.
The performance propelled Free State to the top of the log with 10 points and 43 games points, but North West defeated Mpumalanga 8 – 4 to move into second place, just two points and four games points adrift. The two teams will face off in the final round, while Eastern Province held on to third and will start the final round with eight points and 35 games points against Boland.
Border defeated Limpopo 6.5 – 5.5 to push off the bottom off the log into sixth place.
Southern Cape 6.5 vs Gauteng North 5.5
Central Gauteng 7.0 vs KwaZulu-Natal 5.0
Ekurhuleni 6.5 vs Western Province 5.5
1 Central Gauteng (4, 3, 0, 1, 6, 27.5)
2 Southern Cape (4, 3, 0, 1, 6, 25.5)
3 KwaZulu-Natal (4, 2, 0, 2, 4, 29)
4 Western Province (4, 2, 0, 2, 4, 21.5)
5 Gauteng North (4, 1, 0, 3, 2, 23)
6 Ekurhuleni (4, 1, 0, 3, 2, 17.5)
Gavin Sole from Southbroom. (Ernest Blignault)