With Central Gauteng Men’s A causing a minor upset yesterday by beating a slightly weakened KZN A, the former team could clinch the Jarvis Cup today by beating the powerful WP A team. There was a definite buzz of excitement as the teams arrived at the UCT courts and prepared themselves for the battles ahead!
First up was localcrowd favourite Clinton Leeuw against Devon Hendrickse. One could cut the tension with a blunt knife as both players eased into the opening match. This tension was palpable as Leeuw won the first game 11-7 and then saved 2 game points and went on to take the 2nd 12-10, assisted by 2 nervous drops by Devon that clipped the top of the tin. Thereafter, this match was soon over and WP supporters were breathing more easily. Rodney Durbach looked comfortable against Mike Tootill – until the lanky World O45 Masters silver medalist took the 3rd game easily 11-3. There were anxious moments for both sets of supporters, but Durbach eventually prevailed 11-9, for a good 3-1 victory.
Both no.5’s, Zuko Kubukeli and Paul Atkinson had been chosen as SA representatives in the O40’s World Masters in Hong Kong last week. Atkinson had lost there in the quarters 3-1, whereas Kubukeli managed a silver medal, losing to the same opponent, by the same margin as Atkinson. This was always going to be a really close, tough encounter – and so it once again proved to be. The WP man went 11-9, 16-14 up, and looked to have the upper hand. However, Atkinson got one back in the 3rd, but after nearly an hour’s play eventually succumbed 3-1. The silky racquet skills of Englishman and former pro Jonathan Kemp was too much for Central Gauteng’s Thoboki Moholo. Kemp won 3-1 to put WP 4-0 up in the fixture. WP’s Shaun le Roux and Central Gauteng’s Eddie Charlton’s first game lasted just short of half an hour, with the Province man winning that particular duel. However, he didn’t win the battle, as Charlton toughed it out to win the 2nd, then easily rattled through the next 2 games 11-4, 11-3.
In other men’s A section fixtures, SACD proved too strong for Northerns, despite being bolstered by the arrival of Jan-Hendrik Mulder for the boys from the north. However Kelvin Ndhlovu fought hard, pushing Egyptian world no.18 Karim Gawad (playing for SACD) all the way before the foreigner won 12-10 in the 5th. KZN also came back strongly after yesterday’s defeat, and triumphed fairly comfortably against Border. Michael Wood achieved Borders’ solitary point when he was too strong for an exhausted Gary Wheadon. Rumour has it that Mark Krajcsak will be back for KZN in tomorrow’s encounter against WP, which adds some lustre to what will almost certainly be an absorbing contest. Despite losing to Central Gauteng yesterday, it’s not all over for the Banana Boys. Victory for them tomorrow will create a situation whereby each team would have lost once, and a points count-out will determine the winner. KZN will surely have added support from Central Gauteng, which is likely to nullify home-town support!
In the ladies Kaplan Cup section, the juggernaut that is WP rolled ominously forward with yet another crushing win, this time over Northerns. Only Milnay Louw for Northerns put up any resistance, and showed why she is feared amongst her South African peers, pushing Danish world no.24 Line Hansen through a tough 4-setter. EP made short work of the SACD ladies, dropping only 1 game, as they climb up the leaderboard. The Central Gauteng women had to make do without their no.2 Cheyna Tucker, but nevertheless were still too strong for KZN. No. 5 Colette Ferguson won for the KZN team against reserve Sharon le Roux. American Amanda Sohby once again put on a commanding performance against Lauren Briggs. Her tussle tomorrow in the final (between Central Gauteng and WP) against Line Hansen will surely be a highlight, the likes of which Capetonians seldom witness.