The action shifted to Pretoria Harlequins due to the larger viewing area, which proved to be insufficient as a massive crowd squeezed into the facility to watch KwaZulu-Natal defend the Jarvis Cup against Western Province.
The draw for the sequence of the final day matches saw the Number 4s up first. Rudi Willemse won the first game against Gary Wheadon but the KwaZulu-Natalian fought back to level matters. Willemse took the next two to secure a vital first point for Western Province.
It was then time for the Captains playing at No.3 with Rodney Durbach winning the battle of the veterans 3 – 1 after Adrian Hansen had also squared the match at 1-all.
The top ranked players were scheduled for the 3rd match and World No.26 Steve Coppinger made light work of Shaun le Roux with a clinical 3 – 0 win.
Martin had worked his way to match ball in the 4th but Kubukeli held his nerve to take the encounter into a decider. The left-hander took the 5th 11-8 to spark scenes of wild celebration as Province lifted the Jarvis Cup for the first time since 2009 and their 9th title overall.
South African Country Districts A were unstoppable in the B Section and will play with the big boys in 2013 while Border was relegated from the top division. Eastern Province A won the C Section and their spot will be taken by SACD B who topped the D Section.
Northerns, who had won every individual game during the week, were favoured to lift their first Kaplan Cup when they faced Central Gauteng on the adjacent court.
Sonica Fritz was first up against Kathryn Blake and the local lady cleaned up in double quick time allowing her opponent only 9 points.
Claire Nitch, playing in her 24th tournament, leveled the tie with a 3 – 0 win over Senade Haupt.
Central Gauteng then took the lead when their English World No.21 Emma Bedoes raced to a 3 – 0 triumph over Milnay Louw but Cara Fourie kept the drama going with a 3 – 1 result over Linda Shannon.
It all came down to the No.2s: been-there-and-done-it Diana Haynes vs up-and-coming Cheyna Tucker. The Northerns girl fought with all she had and pushed Haynes in the first and third games but Diana’s experience told in the end to secure a 3 – 0 victory and a record-extending 24th Kaplan Cup crown for the Joburg ladies.
KwaZulu-Natal A were promoted while SA Country Districts were relegated to the B Section.
The spirit of Jarvis Kaplan was there for all to see throughout the week and more specifically on the final day when provincial passion was clearly evident.
Here’s to another 53 years of the world’s most exciting regional squash competition!