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KwaZulu-Natal and Western Province to fight out SuperSport Sixes

The first round of South Africa's domestic first-class competition drew to a close, with KwaZulu-Natal and Western Province leading the way

Wisden Cricinfo staff
KwaZulu-Natal, Western Province, Free State, North West, Border and Griqualand West have earned the right to play in this year's SuperSport Super Sixes, where they will fight it out for the domestic first-class championship later in the season.
And Northerns, Easterns, Eastern Province, Boland and Gauteng will contest the Shield competition after promising much but delivering little and finishing the first round at the wrong end of the tables.
Griqualand West 112 (McLean 5-31, Klusener 4-29) and 287 (Hector 143, McLean 5-85) lost to KwaZulu-Natal 383 (H Amla 81, Klusener 66, Abrahim 4-48) and 13 for 0 by 10 wickets
High-riding KwaZulu-Natal finished with a ten-wicket win against Griqualand West at Durban. Nixon McLean was the hero, taking 10 for 116 in the match, while the Griquas' Benjamin Hector will be delighted with his century against a near-Test attack.
Boland 244 (Ontong 150, van der Wath 5-59) and 250 (Strydom 68, Venter 7-83) beat Free State 266 (Dippenaar 87, Groeneveld 4-39) and 205 (Beukes 70) by 23 runs
Boland's win at Bloemfontein was not enough for them to jump over the defeated Free State, but the form of Justin Ontong, who scored another hundred, will encourage them as they fight it out in the Shield. For Free State, Kosie Venter took seven wickets in the second innings after Johannes van der Wath grabbed five in the first.
Eastern Province 457 (Bryant 163, Peterson 118, Mitchell 61, Hall 4-69, Z de Bruyn 4-84) and 145 (Malao 5-54) drew with Easterns 318 (Cullinan 95, Toyana 64, Seymore 52) and 42 for 0
Easterns and Eastern Province fought out an evenly balanced draw at Benoni. James Bryant and Robin Peterson scored hundreds for EP, while Daryll Cullinan narrowly missed out on yet another century for Easterns. Left-arm spinner Jacob Malao bowling came away with another five-for for Easterns.
North West 212 (Jacobs 66, Harris 4-41) and 495 for 4 (Jacobs 181, Rowley 106*, Grace 78) drew with Northerns 518 for 6 dec (van Jaarsveld 128, McKenzie 101, Rudolph 96, Peterson 62, van der Merwe 4-137)
There were records for North West as they bounced back from a disappointing first innings to earn a draw against Northerns. A win would have given Northerns a spot in the Super Sixes, but a career-best 181 from Davey Jacobs - and a provincial-record partnership with Graham Grace - plus a hundred from Grant Rowley saw them hold on for a draw as time ran out. Earlier, hundreds from Martin van Jaarsveld and Neil McKenzie seemed to have sealed North West's fate.
Western Province 520 for 6 dec (Kirsten 125, Duminy 105*, Kallis 105, Price 84) drew with Gauteng 225 (Otto 91, Adams 4-50) and 505 for 7 (Cook 135, Abrahams 134, Bacher 65, Ackerman 54)
The young and inexperienced Gauteng side will be well pleased with their draw against a very strong Western Province team at Newlands. WP had amassed 520, with the help of hundreds from Gary Kirsten, Jean-Paul Duminy and Jacques Kallis, then forced Gauteng to follow on. But second time around they too passed 500, with hundreds from Stephen Cook and Umar Abrahams.