Epic showdown for promotion at Glendower

2015SAIPTRnd2_RossSinclair_TeaghanGauche_GNGUDOWERGLEN, 24 September 2015 – The battle for promotion in the 55th South African Inter-Provincial, sponsored by Tempest, is poised on a knife’s edge with Gauteng North and KwaZulu-Natal heading for a cliff-hanger finish in the final showdown between the two former champions on Friday.

Gauteng North protected their number one spot in the rankings by beating North West 8.5 – 3.5, but KwaZulu-Natal trounced Mpumalanga 9.5 – 2.5 to finish a close second.

Both teams have eight points, but Gauteng North will start the final skirmish with a two games point advantage.

Gauteng North scored a clean sweep against North West in the Foursomes.

Keegan de Lange halved against Riaan Swart and skipper Andrew van der Knaap, Hendrikus Stoop, Rosswell Sinclair and James du Preez racked in the victories.

“It’s very, very close, but after we saw the draw, we played to be in this exact position,” said KZN manager Ivan Curlewis, who also managed the 2009 winning side.

“Gauteng North has a slew of top ranked players this year and we knew we would have to win every match and gather as many games points as possible to put ourselves in an attacking position for the final match.

“We have Gavin, a 20 year IPT veteran, and seven young players, but the youngsters have shown incredible depth of character and maturity beyond their years this week, while Gavan has been an absolute banker.

“The team spirit on this team is the best I’ve ever known and they have done everything I have asked of them. I know they will bring everything to the final showdown.”

KZN led Mpumalanga 3 – 1 after the Foursomes and executed a well-laid plan in the Singles to triumph.

Rookies Clayton (5 & 4), Mansfield (Anuerin Gounden (2 & 1) and Luke Mayo (2 & 1) produced the goods, while Siyanda Mwandla and Matt Saulez, playing in their second premier IPT’s won 2 & 1 and

3 & 2 respectively.

Sole secured the final point with a 2-up victory against Lourens Volschenk.

Free State had a plenty reasons to celebrate after trouncing Limpopo 10 – 2.

After a whitewash in the Foursomes, Henning de Jager lost the first game 6 & 7 to Limpopo’s Gerhard Pepler.

Then the Free State machine gathered speed.

Roedu du Plessis beat Ricardo Loock 2 & 1, Heinrich Erasmus downed Menno Malherbe 5 & 4,

Juran Dreyer trounced David Wiggill 3 & 2, Richard Maree took Cameron Nesmith 4 & 2 and Blaine Dormehl defeated Quintin Crause 1-up.

Melvin Geldenhuys halved against Peter Masehela and Andrè van Zyl scored their other half point against Hilton Hughes.

KwaZulu-Natal 9.5 vs Mpumalanga 2.5
Gauteng North 8.5 – North West 3.5
Free State 10 vs Limpopo 2

(Pos-Union-Played-Won-Drawn-Lost-Points-Matches won)
1 Gauteng North (4, 4, 0, 0, 8, 38.0)
2 KwaZulu-Natal (4, 4, 0, 0, 8, 36.0)
3 North West (4, 2, 0, 2, 4, 22.0)
4 Free State (4, 1, 0, 3, 2, 20.0)
5 Mpumalanga (4, 1, 0, 3, 2, 19.5)
6 Limpopo (4, 0, 0, 4, 0, 8.5)

PHOTO – Gauteng North’s Rosswell Sinclair and Teaghan Gauche; credit SAGA.