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Ekurhuleni ready to defend at SA Mid-Amateur IPT

09 Oct 2011

SA Mid-Amateur Inter-Provincial defending champions Ekurhuleni

Ekurhuleni team manager Martin Saaiman believes his team has arrived at this year’s SA Mid-Amateur Inter-Provincial tournament in Port Elizabeth with a huge target on their backs.

“Let me say off the bat that we’ve come here to defend,” said Saaiman, who was sweating over the team sheet on Sunday, working out his pairings for the first round foursomes and singles against Mpumalanga while his charges are becoming familiar with the notorious links layout of Humewood Golf Club.

“We don’t plan to give an inch, but there are a couple of teams here that will throw everything at us this week; even a kitchen sink or two. In this format, it’s important to come out strong in the foursomes to give the team the physiological advantage before the singles.

“We will only plan only for the match on the day and not think to far ahead.”

Six members of the victorious 2010 team are back in action but Saaiman has a lot of confidence in his two new caps, too.

“Tyrol Auret joins us this year and he brings his experience from the pro ranks,” Saaiman explained. “Craig Roberts made the team on merit and he is one tenacious player, always ready for a good scramble.”

The rest of the team that will go up against Mpumalanga on Monday include David Younge, Lawrence Joubert, Craig Bell, Even Mackenzie, Rowan du Preez and skipper Hugo Delport.

Saaiman said the first round on Monday will be a good test for the team.

“We are up against Mpumalanga and they are pretty much an unknown entity to us, having earned promotion last year,” he said. “Going up against a team we are pretty unfamiliar with is a good opportunity for us to test some pairings and work on our game plan for the rest of the tournament.”

Meanwhile Anton Prinsloo and the rest of the Eastern Province squad are relishing the opportunity to play themselves into A-Section promotion.

“We really have no reason not to win promotion,” said Prinsloo. “We have the home course advantage, the course knowledge and a team of guys that have performed well as individuals all season. Now we just have to show everyone we can win as a team, too.”

Prinsloo expects the team to be tested from the get go.

“We are facing two of the strongest teams in the B-Section in the first round,” he said. “Free State and Northern Cape are always tough adversaries and Gauteng North were relegated last year, so they will be fighting hard to get back.

“As opening matches go, it’s not going to be a walk in the park, but then none of the matches this week will be. We’ll just have to cross our fingers that the wind will start blowing to swing the odds in our favour a little.”

Like the national inter-provincial, the format of the event will be morning foursomes and afternoon singles.

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