The 2018 South African Masters Squash tournament came to an exciting conclusion across East London on Tuesday afternoon as the final matches across the various divisions were battled out at the different venues.
In one of the headlining sections, the men’s 35-44 age division it was so close but yet so far for Border as they were just edged out in an enthralling final match by KwaZulu-Natal who duly claimed the overall win.
Both Border and KZN came into the final round level pegging having defeated all the other teams in their pool over the opening three days of action.
Border had beaten Free State 17-7 on Saturday, Gauteng 16-5 and Eastern Province 14-9 on Sunday and then comfortably past Northerns on Monday.
KZN had also beaten the same opponents so going into Tuesday's final day it was all to play for and winner takes all.
“We were very excited to go into the final day unbeaten overall, giving us the chance to take the title against KZN,” said Border number two Kelvin Edwards.
“I think we knew EP and Northerns would be tough opposition and we were a bit surprised to have done so well against them.
“So being in the final was a bit of a surprise but it took great character from the whole team to get us here and we deserved our shot.
Border then started badly as Kevin Bayman and Deon Poortman both went down 3-0, leaving the team with their backs against the wall.
Reserve player Clint Droedelet however then came in and triumphed 3-0, followed by Edwards winning 3-1 to even things up at two matches all, leaving it down to the final match to decide things.
Border number one Jimmy van Niekerk then didn't have enough to beat former SA champ Adrian Hansen, going down 3-1 as KZN just clinched the victory. “If you looked at the team on paper, EP and Northerns would have favoured themselves, so for us to have done so well to get passed them and then made the final, was really special,” said Edwards.
“So in the final we knew we had a chance, but we had to be at our very best, we also took a gamble or two and unfortunately it all didn't work out, but we are very proud of the effort we put in to come so close.” In all five age divisions featuring 13 sections were battled out, with all the results unavailable at the time of going to print, but will carry on Thursday.