Daisies edge Gauteng for Challenge Cup victory

GautengNorth1_GNGUJOHANNESBURG (20 May 2016) – In 2014, the difference come down to one point and the Challenge Cup went the way of Central Gauteng. Last year, the SAGA Juniors did it with a single games point. Not surprisingly then, the 2016 edition produced another final round of high drama.

But no-one imagined that Gauteng North would celebrate their first victory in five years with the smallest margin ever.

The Daisies fought like Trojans until the last putt dropped to defeat the President’s Team 6.5 – 5.5 and that narrow triumph secured the half a games point Gauteng North needed to edge out Central Gauteng for victory at Parkview Golf Club on Friday.

“I think aged about 10 years in the last hour of that match, but it was so worth it,” said Gauteng North manager Paul Davel. “What an effort from our team and what an effort from the Presidents Team.

“It was easily the toughest match of the week and I am so incredibly proud of these eight players, who just never gave up. Every single guy on the team fought until the bitter end and they will savour this victory for many years to come.

“As a team, we tip our hat to the Presidents Team. In the first couple of years of this competition, you always felt you had two guaranteed points when you played them. Last year they started to show some teeth, but this year, this team were astounding. They gave every team a really hard time and the spirit with which they played this final match bears witness not only to their characters, but to the development programme in this country.”

Gauteng North and Central Gauteng were deadlocked for the lead after four rounds. Both teams had amassed six points, but the Daisies had a slight advantage – a lead of two games points.

Central Gauteng were first out of the blocks and clocked in with an 8 – 4 victory over Western Province. Gauteng North dominated the Foursomes to start the afternoon season with a 3.5 – 0.5 lead over the President’s Team.

Christopher van der Merwe put his side four points ahead when he downed Chandler Shaw 6 & 4, but Siyanda Mwandla turned the tide when he knocked out Philip Kruse 4 & 2.

Hilmi Mallick beat Richard Joubert 3 & 2, Karabo Mokoena followed suit against Dylan Kok to win 3 & 2 and number one Sentanio Minnie downed his opposite number, Albert Venter, 2-up to level the score.

Ruan Conradie beat Steven le Roux 3 & 2 to put Gauteng North back in the driver’s seat, but Franklin Manchest rallied to win 1-up against Keegan Mclachlan.

“With 5.5 points each, it came down to Estiaan Conradie, who kept his nerve under huge pressure to defeat Neswill Croy 2 & 1.

“This really was as close as it could get,” Davel said. “Central Gauteng was in the clubhouse with eight points and 35 games points, and we finished with eight points and 35.5 games points.

“For me the victory came down to our Foursomes performances. In the past, we’ve always struggled in the Foursomes and that left us on the back foot in the Singles. This year we got our combinations spot on. That half-point Philip and Christopher secured for us in the Foursomes against the Presidents Team meant the difference between winning and losing.”

Gauteng North won three matches and drew against USSA and the SAGA Juniors, but Freddie Tait Cup winner Cameron Moralee from Central Gauteng pipped Joubert and Kok for first spot with nine points in the Most Valued Players list. The two Gauteng North players shared second on eight points with Central’s Dylan Naidoo and David McIntyre.

Minnie from the President’s Team, who took fifth overall in the standings, finished sixth on the MVP list, while Mokoena, Mwandla and Manchest tied for seventh with six other players.

PHOTO – 2016 Challenge Cup champions Gauteng North; credit Ernest Blignault.
(Back – left to right: Dylan Kok, Philip Kruse, manager Paul Davel, Richard Joubert, Albert Venter and Keegan Mclachlan. Front – Estiaan Conradie, Ruan Conradie and Christopher van der Merwe).