ANOTHER UNBEATEN YEAR FOR CENTRAL SENIORS
Central Gauteng remained unbeaten for another year on their way to retaining the Senior IPT crown at Simola in Knysna. Having won their opening five matches of the week, they were held on the final day to 6-6 halves with Western Province, who were again runners-up, two points adrift, and Gauteng North.
Central have only lost twice in 35 matches since the Senior IPT became a matchplay tournament in 2013, and this was their third title of the new era.They scored 56½ points out of a possible 84.
The Central team comprised stalwarts Schalk Naude, Jock Wellington and Richard Bruyns, plus Steve Williams, Greg Gleeson and Stephen Johnston from the team which won in 2016.The newcomers were Rurik Gobel and Derek Reyneke, who both had excellent debuts.Williams, at No 1 in the singles, lost badly on the first day to KZN’s Morgan Phillips, but then won his next six matches, while Johnston, at No 2, did the opposite, winning six singles and then losing on the final day to Gordon Wessels (Gauteng North), who also had six wins, and was the standout player for his province.
WP, with new team member Henry Trevena making a fine debut, lost narrowly to home team Southern Cape on the first day, and after that were always playing catch-up against Central, who crushed Southern Cape hopes on the second day.
Ekurhuleni, who halved with WP on day two, were shaping up well, but lost twice on day three, a narrow defeat to Central hurting the most. EK eventually finished third ahead of Southern Cape, with Gauteng North fifth.
The A division MVP was Ekurhuleni’s Graeme Watson, who won six and halved one of his seven singles, playing at No 3, and had the same record in the foursomes with partner Kevin Monk. Bertus Smit, 64, had a good week for Southern Cape, claiming numerous scalps at No 1 in the singles.The only top player to beat him was No 1-ranked Williams.
Mpumalanga were relegated back to the B division, which they won in 2016, having lost six of their seven matches.
Eastern Province, relegated last year, won the B division with five straight wins, although the title could quite have easily gone to Boland, pipped by EP on the final day. Boland took the foursomes 3-1 in this decider, but EP fought back to win the singles 5½-2½.Their team comprised Attie Burger, Manie Daniels (the B division MVP with a 100 percent record of wins), Greg de Doncker, Karl du Preez, Ryno Ferreira, Mkhuseli Mavuso, Ian Pienaar and Mzuyanda Zingela. Ferreira had five singles wins, including a vital one over Boland’s Andre van Dyk, No 3 on the national rankings.
The Super Senior IPT, previously played in the same week, has been moved to the end of the year, and will be played at Pezula in December.
Far left: A Division champions Central Gauteng. Back, from left, Greg Gleeson, Richard Bruyns, Jaco du Plessis (manager), Richard Bruyns and Derek Reyneke. Front, Steve Williams, Schalk Naude (captain), Jock Wellington and Stephen Johnston. B Division champions Eastern Province. Back, from left, Deon Nel (manager), Karl du Preez, Attie Burger, Mzuyanda Zingela, Ian Pienaar. Front, Manie Daniels, Ryno Ferreira (captain), Greg de Doncker and Mkhuseli Mavuso.