GN joins battle for second at SA U-19 IPT

NELSPRUIT, 15 December 2016 – Central Gauteng might have a small party tonight after they sewed up the A-Section title, but the team will be saving the big celebration until the 2016 South African U19 Inter-Provincial at White River Country Club officially wraps up on Friday. For Mpumalanga and Boland, though, there are no such comforts.

In what promises to be a marathon brawl, the two teams fighting for promotion will face each other in the final round, however, a switch in the format due to lightning forecast for Friday could stir things up in the final round tussle for the coveted A-Section upgrade.

The championship has been largely unaffected by the lightning activity in the area, but the forecast put major thunderstorms right over White River on Friday afternoon.

“We had a bit of a deluge this afternoon with 10 mm of rain falling in 30 minutes, but the real concern is for Friday,” said tournament director Eden Thompson. “The forecast predicts heavy thunderstorms right over us in the afternoon, and for that reason the teams will start with the singles and the foursomes will follow, weather permitting.”

Central Gauteng downed Ekurhuleni to take a bow as the 2016 champions. Having surrendered just half a point in the foursomes, Cole Stevens, Bryce Leach and Kian Rose boosted their tally to 6.5 points.

Rookie Reece Haikney and the experienced duo Emilio Pera and Keelan van Wyk added half points to secure the 8 – 4 score line.

Central Gauteng wrapped up their second title in three years with four victories and a draw against Western Province, but manager Andy Truluck says the work is not yet done.

“We moved to nine points at the top of the log with the win against Ekurhuleni, so effectively we are the 2016 champions and there are four teams fighting for second. However, we want to end the week undefeated and that means taking out Gauteng North in the final round.

“With the format change, it could be tricky, but I have all the faith in the world in this young team. They have so much heart and amazing fighting spirit, and I know they will fight until the last putt drops.”

Defending champions Southern Cape and Ekurhuleni have been jostling for second spot in the log since the start of the week.

KwaZulu-Natal pulled off two emphatic victories on Thursday and Gauteng North beat Free State 8 – 4 to join the battle for second. All four teams have six points, but KwaZulu-Natal pushed into second on games points after defeating Free State 9 – 3 and Gauteng North 7.5 – 4.5.

Gauteng North scored 3.5 points in the foursomes and Werner Deyzel, Otto van Buynder, Keegan Mclachlan and Dino Capazario pushed their tally to 7.5 points in the singles. Dawid Opperman halved with Malherbe Oosthuizen to deliver the final blow.

KwaZulu-Natal leads the way on 34.5 games points, Southern Cape and Ekurhuleni are tied with 31.5 each and Gauteng North has 31 games points.

Free State secured promotion last year after a magnificent week at Worcester Golf Club, but the young side clearly missed their 2015 anchors – Therion Nel, Steven le Roux and Attie van Wyk. They will have to do it all over again after finishing at the bottom of the log.

While the big dogs enjoyed their bye on Thursday, Eastern Province opened the taps to mow down North Cape 9.5 – 2.5 and Limpopo 7 – 5.

North West whipped Border 9 – 3 and Limpopo handed Northern Cape a 9 – 3 drubbing. But it’s all too little, too late for everyone. The battle for promotion is down to Boland and Mpumalanga, respectively first and second in the log and virtually untouchable.

Boland leads with 10 points and have 48.5 games points in hand. The host union holds nine points and have 46 games points. Boland could square the match and secure the B-Section title, but Mpumalanga needs the win to pass Boland in the standings.

Only one thing is certain – it’s all to play for and it’s going to be a dog fight until the last putt drops.

KwaZulu-Natal 7.5 vs Gauteng North 4.5
Gauteng North 8 vs Free State 4
KwaZulu-Natal 9 vs Free State 3
Central Gauteng 8 vs Ekurhuleni 4

(Pos-Union-Played-Won-Drawn-Lost-Points-Matches won)
1 Central Gauteng (5, 4, 1, 0, 9, 37)
2 KwaZulu-Natal (5, 3, 0, 2, 6, 34.5)
T3 Southern Cape (5, 3, 0, 2, 6, 31.5)
T3 Ekurhuleni (5, 3, 0, 2, 6, 31.5)
5 Gauteng North (5, 3, 0, 2, 6, 31)
6 Western Province (5, 1, 1, 3, 3, 29)
7 Free State (6, 0, 0, 6, 0, 21.5)

B-SECTION – Round Four Scores
Northern Cape 2.5 vs Eastern Province 9.5
Eastern Province 7 vs Limpopo 5
Northern Cape 3 vs Limpopo 9
North West 9 vs Border 3

(Pos-Union-Played-Won-Drawn-Lost-Points-Matches won)
1 Boland (5, 5, 0, 0, 10, 48.5)
2 Mpumalanga (5, 4, 1, 0, 9, 46)
3 North West (5, 3, 1, 1, 7, 36)
4 Eastern Province (5, 3, 0, 2, 6, 34)
5 Limpopo (6, 2, 0, 4, 4, 28.5)
6 Border (5, 0, 0, 5, 0, 13)
7 Northern Cape (5, 0, 0, 5, 0, 10)

PHOTO – Gauteng North; credit GNGU