The stage is set for the showdown between defending champions, Western Province and second seeded Kwazulu Natal at the Defence Courts in Potchefstroom on Friday when the final round of the Laser Jarvis Kaplan Interprovincial squash championships will be played.
In Thursday’s fourth round Kwazulu Natal, who last won the title in 2011, dropped only 1 game against Border picking up 20 points.
Although a tough battle in the 3, 4,and 5 slots Central Gauteng faded away to an 8-19 defeat against Western Province. Based in the USA, Province’s Clinton Leeuw took 5 games to gain the edge over Michael Wood, the Central Gauteng number 3. Former National captain, Rodney Durbach, who had pulled out all the stops earlier in the week to beat SACD’s Jimmy Schlebusch and Free State’s Reinhold Hergeth, found himself involved in another 5 setter with Devon Hendrikse. Hendrikse (CG) took a 2 games to 1 lead but was unable to clinch the advantage in the fourth as Durbach saved 4 match points clawing his way to 15-13 and level the match at two games all. Durbach then seemed to find a second wind and took the decider 11-5. Ex Western Province player Rudi Willemse inflicted another defeat on Zuko Kubekeli scraping through 11-9 in the fifth game. Thereafter it was one way traffic as Shaun le Roux accounted for Thoboki Mohohlo in four games and Cameron Pilley, ranked 19 in the world, raced through in straight games against Eddie Charlton to stamp their seal on the match.
Free State caused the surprise when they beat the more favoured SACD team 18-7. In the first match Paul Rodrigues, the Free State number 3, pushed Christo Potgieter, ranked 6 in the country to 5 games losing 10-12 in the decider. Reinholdt Hergeth (FS) was also involved in a five game tussle with Jimmy Schlebusch losing 7-11 in the fifth. Jacques Swanepoel, unbeaten this week, notched another victory in straight games over Rudi van Niekerk to put Free State back into the match.
Ranked 19 in the country Lawrence Kuhn then outplayed JP Brits, ranked 5, to level the match score. It was left to Omar Meguid, ranked 29 in the world, to provide the biggest upset when he beat fellow Egyptian Karim Awad, ranked 14 in the world, in 4 games .
In the women’s final defending champions Central Gauteng will clash with Western Province. The two provinces have faced each other in the final for the past ten years with the scale balance 6-4 for the coastal side.
In Thursday’s matches Central Gauteng whitewashed Northerns 20-0 while Western Province dropped only 4 games in their encounter with Eastern Province, winning 18-4. UJ student Kacey Leigh Dodd inflicted a 3-1 defeat on her Western Province counterpart, Karen Schultz. In the third tie SACD beat Kwazulu Natal 17-9.
Western Province B is the only unbeaten side in the Women’s B section and leads the section with 86 points, 8 points ahead of Midlands, who have only lost 1 match.
The Men’s B final is between Northerns A and Central Gauteng B while the C section sees Western Province C clash with Free State B.
The Men’s D section will provide lots of excitement as three teams have lost 1 match each and another 2 have lost 2 matches. Likely winners SACD C sit on 78 points with one match lost and they face Free State C bottom of the log on 29. Northerns C on 71 points also with one match lost meet Midlands B 56 points and 2 matches lost. Central Gauteng D also one match lost on 77 points play SACD D with 66 points and 2 matches lost.