EXCITING THREE-WAY PLAYOFF DECIDES THE 2018 WINNERS!
Absa Superskills has become synonymous with the annual BCX SuperSport Shootout and the hotly contested event, held on the morning of Friday’s much awaited welcome dinner, has developed a life and soul all of its own.
The rivalry between the three principle sports codes, football, rugby and cricket is a given and you can rely on each individual team-member proving the point that professional sportsman never lose that innate will to win.
The 2018 renewal of the Absa Superskills was to have an altogether different feel, for it was evident from the
get-go that this year the two teams representing the sponsors were looking to shake off the unwanted tags that had been following them around for years.
In years gone by Absa teams arriving to participate in their own event were welcomed with much warmth and appreciation but whilst publicly greeted as “generous hosts” and “benevolent sponsors” one got the distinct impression that their opponents had already written them off. Considered to be just making up the numbers, they were labelled “also-rans” before a swing was swung.
2018 and enter Bobby’s Banking Boys.
Whatever nerves had troubled Bobby Malabie and his Absa teams of the past, they were noticeably absent as he and his partner Jason Quinn climbed aboard the helicopter to take them on the breathtaking ride up to the
Hang-up mountain for the opening discipline, Legend Golf and Safari Resort’s ‘Extreme 19th’.
Their new found confidence was not misplaced for on descending the mountain, defending champion Breyton Paulse and his teammate Akona Ndungane looking somewhat bemused to be trailing to the fired up financiers.
There was still a lot of golf to be played and Stanton Fredricks and Jimmy Tau, second in the standings after ‘Extreme 19th’, looked unfazed as they spoke team tactics for the forthcoming shots from the sand trap. Whatever their strategy it worked and they bagged the bulk of the bunker points in the second challenge, although Bobby and Jason retained the overall lead.
It is never easy to lead the Absa Superskills from start to finish. In addition to nerves, the team with the highest score always goes first in the next discipline. This is a significant disadvantage when it comes to the Putting challenge. The leaders are the proverbial guinea pigs as the chasing pack all get to ‘go to school’ on their efforts, gleaming valuable knowledge of pace and movement in the once-off putt.
But all four bankers were in defiant mood and this time Absa’s second team Graeme Watson and Malungelo Zilimbola, clearly taking heart from their workmates hot start, out-trumped their compatriots and produced excellent puts to effectively negate any advantage that might have been forthcoming to those teams that followed them.
Now it was the turn of the cricketers to start scratching their heads. Henry Davids and Ashwell Prince were beyond bemused. Could both Team Absa entries really be dominating the Superskills scoreboard?
Every year it’s the Greensomes discipline that proves to be the defining challenge. And so it proved yet again.
Double points were once again up for grabs as all five teams prepared to battle each other on the 7th and 8th holes at Legend.
Competition was fierce, the standard of play high and it was here that the front runners faltered. A single dropped shot opened the door a fraction and allowed their pursuers a glimpse of hope.
In the history of Absa Superskills there has been one tie and resulting play-off but nobody foresaw that the 2018 contest would require a three-way play-off.
Absa had been caught but not passed. A greenside audit confirmed that they had registered the same amount of points as the fast finishing Team Cricket and Team Soccer.
The fickle fingers of fate hadn’t finished with Absa’s valiant attempt to lead from pillar to post. A separate draw was held to ascertain the order of play in the sudden-death play-off and yet again it was ordained that Absa would be the first to go.
It proved a bridge to far and a deft touch with the putter from off the green facilitated a first Absa Superskills victory for Soccer’s Stanton Fredricks and Jimmy Tau. Breyton and Akona had gone close in attempting to defend the title for team Rugby but along with the gallant host ABSA had to settle for a dead-heat for second.