WP hold off EP challenge in Kaplan Cup

Neale Emslie

WESTERN Province rallied from a two-match deficit to keep their Kaplan Cup women’s title hopes firmly on track as champions Central Gauteng stumbled on the second day of the Investec SA squash interprovincial in Port Elizabeth yesterday.

Gauteng suffered a 15-8 loss to the gutsy Northerns outfit yesterday and will need a big surge for the remainder of the week if they are to have any chance of retaining their title.

WP faced a certain degree of pressure when EP’s Elani Landman fought back from 2-0 down to beat Alex Fuller and then her twin sister, Lumé, added to WP’s anxiety with a 3-1 win over Karen Schultz.

But Sacha West got WP on the board with a tough 3-0 win over Anlen Murray (11-9 11-9 12-10) and the Cape side’s powerful top pair, Line Hansen and Siyoli Waters, sealed the deal with 3-0 victories

SA Country Districts will be disappointed at dropping their tie against KwaZulu-Natal, but full credit to the Natalians who bounced back from a heavy loss to WP on the opening day to win 16-10.

While WP look in control, there have been some unpredictable results in the women’s competition and West said last night there would be no easy route to the final.

In the men’s Jarvis Cup, KwaZulu-Natal are setting the pace after two days, adding a decisive 20-2 win over Northerns yesterday to their opening victory for a total of 37 points.

Defending champions Western Province trail them by five points and have some work to do in the remaining three days after losing No2 Shaun le Roux to a calf injury on the opening day.

Fortunately, the Cape side have a capable replacement in Rudi Willemse, although he was pushed hard yesterday against François le Roux, of SA Country Districts, to win a key match 3-2.

Coupled with wins by Durbach and Clinton Leeuw, it gave WP the match 17-10, but they again dropped two matches, with No1 Cameron Pilley going down to Finnish opponent Olli Tuominen.

In an energy-sapping battle over 90 minutes, Tuominen, the world No26, but his Australian rival, ranked 13, in five games to continue an outstanding week after an opening win over SA No1 Steve Coppinger.

The EP men’s A side stayed on track for tomorrow’s playoffs with a solid 20-2 win over SA Country Districts, topping the log after two rounds with 39 points, 11 ahead of WP B. If they can finish well in their final pool game against WP B today, they have a strong chance of topping the round-robin log.

Today’s programme:

Men: Section A at Old Grey at 12.30, Section B and D at Westview at 12.30, Section C at Crusaders at 12.30

Women: Section A at Londt Park at 12.30; Section B at Londt Park at 9am and 12.30

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