EASTERN Province got off to a stuttering start in their quest for A-Section promotion, while the Southern Cape team delivered a solid performance in yesterday's first round of the 52nd South African Interprovincial at the Port Elizabeth Golf Club.
The Garden Route side gained a 4-0 lead on the local favourites and a 3-1 advantage over Free State and Northern Cape in the morning foursomes, forcing their opponents on the back foot and paving the way to a whitewash in the opening round.
Southern Cape continued their dominance over Free State in the afternoon singles, winning five matches and halving one for a 8½ - 3½ victory, but the south-westerly wind gusting at 25km/h opened the door for EP, who mounted a strong comeback.
Although Southern Cape was able to beat the home side 7½ - 4½, team manager John Mitchell said it was a hard-fought victory.
"It was extremely tight and at one stage, EP were up in seven of the games and looking very strong. Finally a couple of the wins tricked through for us," he said.
It tool three matches before Southern Cape got their first points.
New cap Fezekila Kana drew first blood for EP. Andile Adam, another new cap, claimed a hard-fought draw against Jacques Cloete and EP captain Naldo Claassen downed Nicholas Mitchell 1-up.
Although Free State and Northern Cape had a nice cushion after the foursomes, they were no match for the fervent EP side in the singles, who handed them a 7½ - 4½ drubbing. Poor performances against both teams in the foursomes will see the home side introduce changes to the line-up against Ekurhuleni today.
Central Gauteng got their title defence under way in the A-Section with a solid 8-4 result against Limpopo, Gauteng North drew 6-all with KwaZulu-Natal and Boland surprised when they beat arch rivals and neighbours Western Province 7-5.