SACD men cruise to second straight Jarvis victory
Gqeberha/Port Elizabeth; In a stunning fightback, Eastern Province A’s Sarah O’Grady fended off eight match points to defeat Lara Patrick of Northerns, helping her team to stretch their unbeaten run to three matches on the second day of the Growthpoint Interprovincial squash tournament in Gqeberha/Port Elizabeth on Tuesday.
The Kaplan Cup encounter between the second-ranked Northerns and No 3 EP produced most of the drama and the result – 17-10 to EP – was in the balance for much of the fixture.
It was deadlocked at 1-1 in matches when the No 5s took to the court in a clash where fortunes fluctuated throughout.
O’Grady led 2-1 before Patrick levelled matters by winning the fourth game 12-10 and the Northerns player shot ahead to take what seemed like a match-winning 10-4 lead in the fifth.
She is probably still wondering how she contrived to let that advantage slip as O’Grady capitalised on a number of unforced errors to snatch the decider 13-11.
None of the matches during the tie were easily won and Kacey-Leigh Dodd, at No 2 for EP, was forced to work all the way before she finally subdued the shot-making of the experienced Farrah Fenner for a 3-1 result, sealing the five bonus points for the host province.
Earlier the fixture had a dramatic start when Northerns No 3 Helena Coetzee showed great courage to come back from 2-1 down against Jacqui Ryder for a 3-2 win, followed by a titanic battle between Janet Byrnes (EP) and Kim McDonald, which the former won in four games.
Northerns No 1 Milnay Louw added some respectability to the score, overcoming a gutsy display by her EP counterpart Hayley Ward to win 3-1.
A key match looms today for the home province in two-time defending champions SACD, who had a bye on Tuesday.
In the men’s Jarvis Cup, top seeds SA Country Districts, led by brothers Dewald and Rudi van Niekerk, made sure of ending on top of their pool with a comfortable 20-3 win over Western Province.
SACD have yet to drop a match in the tournament and have installed themselves as favourites to regain the title.
WP, however, should finish in the top two when they take on Eastern Province in their final pool game on Wednesday.
Pool B has developed into a showdown between Gauteng neighbours Joburg Squash, the defending champions, and Northerns.
The teams are unbeaten after two rounds and the winners of their fixture at Londt Park on Wednesday will finish at the top of the pool going into Thursday’s playoffs.
Joburg proved too much for Midlands on Tuesday, coasting to an 18-6 win, with only Luke McFarland having any success for the losers.
Similarly, Northerns, spearheaded by Ruan Olivier, eased past KwaZulu-Natal 18-5, with Dan Smith being KZN’s only winner.
Wednesday’s fixtures are:
Women’s Kaplan Cup
At Londt Park 9am: Joburg Squash v Zambia, Midlands v SACD, Northerns v EP B
At Londt Park 1pm: EP A v SACD, Joburg Squash v EP B
At Old Grey, 1pm: Midlands v Northerns
Men’s Jarvis Cup
At Old Grey, 1pm: SACD v Zambia, Midlands v KZN
At Londt Park, 1pm: WP v EP, Joburg v Northerns