EAST RAMD RULE THE ROOST
Ekurhuleni win the Mid-Amateur Interprovincial for the second time after a dramatic week in Middelburg.
INTERPROVINCIAL GOLF can be exciting when the balance of power is spread evenly among the teams, and Middelburg Golf Club in Mpumalanga yielded the most exciting Mid-Amateur IPT since the tournament began in 2006.
All six A section teams won matches on the first two days, and one point separated them on the log after the third day.
There had to be a winner, and Ekurhuleni, champions in 2010 at Worcester (the first A section trophy in the union’s history), recovered from an early defeat against North West to take the John Pickering Trophy from 2012 champions Central Gauteng.
Four different provinces have won the A section in nine years of Mid-Amateur IPTs – Central Gauteng 3, Western Province 2, KZN 2 and Ekurhuleni 2 – and likewise five provinces have won the B section, first played in 2008.
Ekurhuleni began the week with a 7-5 victory over Central, but came unstuck against North West on day two, losing all four foursomes and the match 8½-3½. On the same day, though, defending champions WP lost to Central 6½-5½ and A section newcomers Eastern Province beat KZN 7-5.
On day three Ekurhuleni saw off KZN 7½-4½, Central
edged EP 6½-5½ and WP beat North West by the same margin to set up a thrilling final two days. Ekurhuleni’s intensity was shown on day four when they led WP 3-1 at lunch and then won 6½ singles points to thrash the title holders 9½-2½.
Ekurhuleni held a 2½game advantage over Central at the top of the log heading into the final day, but got a fright when EP, desperate to remain in the A section, beat them 3-1 in the foursomes. “I had a stern chat with the team,” said manager (and union president) Martin Saaiman. “But they are all experienced players and we had performed really well in the singles except for the North West loss.”
The East Randers answered their manager’s call and promptly won the first five singles. Jan Delport delivered the winning point at No 1, beating Mzuyanda Zingela 5/4 for a 7-5 victory.
Hugo Delport, Rowan du Preez and Craig Bell were in the winning 2010 team, and Delport was outstanding at Middelburg, with 8½ out of 10 points to scoop A section MVP honours, including a full house of five singles wins. Jaco Rall earned 8 points, Du Preez 7, Evan McKenzie 5, Adolf van der Merwe and Brian Peterson 4½, Delport 4 and Bell 1½.
“Mid-Amateur team golf is so competitive and close that it was unlikely one team would win all five matches,” said Saaiman. “We didn’t panic after our loss on day two, and the win against WP on day four really set it all up for us.”
Gauteng North won promotion with an unbeaten B section performance in Middelburg. The Blue Bulls opened with wins over Free State (9-3) and Boland (8-4) on day one, before a tense half against Southern Cape on day two. After a bye on day three, further wins came against Border (8½-3½) and Limpopo (9-3) to set up a title-deciding clash on the final day against hosts Mpumalanga, who had won five out of five.
Gauteng North showed more composure when it mattered most, taking a 2½-1½ foursomes lead, and then winning four singles to squeak home 6½-5½. Pieter Cooper gave an inspired performance, earning the winning point (1up over Mpumalanga’s Jaco Buitendag) to win six out of six singles and share MVP honours with Boland’s Ashley Atkinson with 9½ out of 12 points.
Gustav Verster (5½ singles) and Louis Jonck earned 8½ points for the Bulls, Kelso Hannay 8, Martin Kraft and Jauqo Jacobs 7, Phillip Croukamp 6½ and Bennie van Loggerenberg 5½.
The winning Ekurhuleni team. Back, from left: Adolf van der Merwe, Craig Bell, Brian Peterson, Evan McKenzie, Jan Delport, Rowan du Preez
and Jaco Rall. Front: Hugo Delport and Martin Saaiman ( manager).
The winning Gauteng North team with manager Eddie Roux ( third from left).