EASTERN Province kept their bid for promotion at the South African Interprovincial alive when they beat Ekurhuleni in a cliffhanger in yesterday's second round at Port Elizabeth Golf Club.
Having to come from behind in both their matches after dismal starts in the foursomes, the local favourites achieved mixed results in Monday's first round. The squad managed a respectable 7½ - 4½ result against Free State and Northern Cape, but suffered a heavy blow with their 8-4 loss to Southern Cape.
For a second day running the eight players just could not deliver and started the singles on the back foot, with Ekurhuleni taking a 2½ - 1½ lead in the foursomes. In the singles, Gauteng East drew first blood when Rae Mackie knocked out Andile Adam 4 and 5, but Mzuyanda Zingela turned the tide when he downed new cap Jason Froneman 4 and 3.
Ray Taverner kept the momentum alive with a 4 and 3 result against Ross Callaghan, Sieg Human stitched up another point for the home side when he beat Waylon Kukard 3 and 1, and Andre van Staden added yet another point when he downed Ekurhuleni No1 Gert Myburgh, 4 and 3. With losses from Ryno Ferreira and Naldo Claassen, it came down to new cap Fezekile Kana to rescue the match – and a crucial win – for EP.
The 23-year-old was three up through seven holes when his opposite number, Rowan du Preez, hit back. Du Preez won the 17th (their eighth hole) with a birdie and holed a bunker shot for eagle to win the 18th (ninth) and close the gap to 1-down. Kana responded with a birdie after the turn to go 2-up.
"I knew I could win this match because I know the course so well," Kana said.
With the support of his team-mates, the 20-year-old stayed on track and wrapped up the match with a 2 and &1 victory.
Team manager Richard Hargreaves has ordered some changes to the foursomes and combinations for tomorrow.
After back-to-back wins on Monday, the Garden Route squad beat Border 10-2 and North West 8-4.
In the A-Section, defending champions Central Gauteng downed Limpopo 8½ - 3½, Western Province scored an emphatic 9-3 victory over Limpopo and Gauteng North staged a dramatic comeback to get their campaign back on track.
Last year's runners-up were 1-3 down against Boland after the foursomes, but won six of their eight singles to beat the Cape side 7-5.