Beware A-Section: Gauteng North is back

2015SAIPT_GautengNorth_GNGUDOWERGLEN, 25 September 2015 – Gauteng North emerged unbeaten after an epic battle for supremacy against KwaZulu-Natal to secure the coveted B-Section promotion in the 55th South African Inter-Provincial, sponsored by Tempest.

After their shock relegation at Westlake Golf Club last year, the 2013 champions came back with a vengeance and threw down the gauntlet when they flattened Limpopo 11 – 1 in their opening match at Glendower Golf Club.

After beating Mpumalanga 8 – 4, the Daisies thumped Free State 10.5 – 1.5 and defeated North West 8.5 – 3.5 to remain unbeaten at this year’s championship.

“We knew we would be in for the toughest battle of the week against KwaZulu-Natal, who also won all four matches on their way to the final round,” said Gauteng North manager Gerry Few.

“We knew it would be a dogfight, but this young team had shown incredible character throughout the week and I knew they had the stuffing to pull it off.”

The two teams squared off in the Foursomes, but the Gauteng North side tore into the singles, knowing they needed to thwart a back door challenge from KwaZulu-Natal.

Recent Boys Championship finalist Keegan de Lange whipped Gregory McKay 7 & 5 and skipper Andrew van der Knaap downed Luke Mayo 4 & 2 for a two point lead.

James du Preez took down Clayton Mansfield 3 & 2, but Siyanda Mwandla responded for KZN to beat Hendrikus Stoop 3 & 2. KZN stalwart Gavin Sole added another point when he knocked out Teaghan Gauche 2 & 1, but Marco Loubser hit back, beating Anuerin Gounden 1-up.

Gauteng North’s Jason Smith lost to Malcolm Mitchell, but reigning Nomads SA Boys U-19 Match Play champion Ross Sinclair cleaned up for a seventh point when he downed Matt Saulez.

“A lot of people asked me what happened last year and if I had taken Happy Gilmore and seven caddies to Westlake I might be able to explain it,” said Few.

“We were shell shocked for weeks after our relegation, but we took a team decision to wipe out the past and to focus on this year.

“We never looked further than the next step and we took our matches one at a time. KwaZulu-Natal gave us an incredible final round fight, but I never doubted this team.

“This year the players really came together as a team, with the most amazing spirit of any team I ever managed and I believe it was down to that unity that we could pull it through.

“This is a young team of great individual players, but we walked off a great winning team.”

Free State handed Limpopo a 10 – 2 drubbing in the fourth round and rode that confidence to a 6.5 – 5.5 victory against Mpumalanga to finish fourth in the standings.

North West edged out Free State for third place in the standings by a just one point after squaring their final match against Limpopo.

Central Gauteng defending their A-Section title and sealed their 27th victory in the national team championship with a clean sweep against Ekurhuleni, Southern Cape, Eastern Cape, Boland and Western Province.

KwaZulu-Natal 5 vs Gauteng North 7
Mpumalanga 5.5 vs Free State 6.5
North West 6 vs Limpopo 6

(Pos-Union-Played-Won-Drawn-Lost-Points-Matches won)
1 Gauteng North (5, 5, 0, 0, 10, 45.0)
2 KwaZulu-Natal (5, 4, 0, 1, 8, 41.0)
3 North West (5, 2, 1, 2, 5, 28.0)
4 Free State (5, 2, 0, 3, 4, 26.5)
5 Mpumalanga (5, 1, 0, 4, 2, 25.0)
6 Limpopo (5, 0, 1, 4, 1, 14.5)

PHOTO – Gauteng North won the promotion battle in the 55th South African Inter-Provincial, sponsored by Tempest, at Glendower Golf Club; credit Ernest Blignault.