Quintin van Jaarsveld
KwaZulu-Natal put up a gallant fight but were ultimately dethroned by North West on the final day of the South African Country Districts at Potchefstroom Country Club on Friday.
Port Shepstone Country Club ace Graham Fabricius was a shining light for the defending champions. He was the only player in the team to win all four of his singles games, but it wasn’t enough for KwaZulu-Natal to cling on to the Inter-Provincial crown.
The KwaZulu-Natal side consisted of captain Corne van Deventer, Fabricius, Koenie Erasmus, Sean Baker, Jens Hillermann, Tom Lovett, Jason Gilliver and Christopher Thorpe. Wynand de Swardt was the team manager.
KwaZulu-Natal got off to a strong start with a 7-5 win over Mpumalanga, drew 6-6 with Limpopo and knocked out Free State with 8-4 win to get back into the title fight.
Meanwhile, local heroes North West came out guns blazing with 7-5 victories against Free State and Mpumalanga and a thundering 10-2 result against Border on day three, which took them to the top of the log on six points.
The two teams headed into the final round with North West leading KwaZulu-Natal by one point and an advantage of three games points (24-21).
Hillerman and Van Deventer routed Albert Kruger and Johan Krugel 5 & 4 to claim first blood for KwaZulu-Natal in the foursomes.
Christo Harms and Rigardt Albertse retaliated, defeating Erasmus and Baker 3 & 2 to level the score and Herman Anderson partnered Aldre Terblance to a 2 & 1 win to put North West ahead. Oliver Goldhill and Ray Janse van Rensburg birdied 10 and 11 to go 2-up and rode the advantage to take the final game 1-up.
KwaZulu-Natal also bagged the first point in the singles. Gilliver mowed down number one Britz 5 & 4, but Krugel hit back to keep North West in the driver’s seat when he knocked out Erasmus.
Anderson eliminated number two Hillerman 3 & 2 for their fifth point, while Fabricius, Thorpe and Lovett all won 1-up to bank three crucial points for KwaZulu-Natal.
Their superiority in the foursomes saw North West claim a 7-5 win to wrest the title away from KwaZulu-Natal.
“We gave our title defence a good go and we all did our part. We would’ve loved a win obviously but I suppose they got us on home course advantage,” Fabricius told eHowzit.
“It was still an awesome experience. It’s a great tournament…there’s none other like it, from having team breakfast practice sessions on the range to the jokes among the teams after golf and the formal dinners.
“It’s a very draining week; it takes everything out of you, but it’s the most enjoyable week of golf you could have. The stories people share and everything else makes for a great time.”