Boland banks promotion at SA U-19 IPT

Boland edged out Mpumalanga by one single point to snatch the coveted promotion in this year’s B-Section matches of the South African U-19 Inter-Provincial Championship at White River Country Club on Friday.

Alwyn Zaayman’s charges had stacked up victories against Northern Cape, North West, Limpopo, Border and Eastern Province in the first three rounds.

With 10 points in hand, the log leaders held a slender one point lead over Mpumalanga and needed just to draw the match to win, but Boland knew facing the home favourites in their own back yard would be a tall task.

“Mpumalanga has had a lot of local support this week, so we knew we were up against it with a tough team and the crowds,” Zaayman said.

“Our mandatory rest day on Thursday definitely impacted positively on the team and eight very determined young gentleman teed off this morning. I told them we’d crossed five hurdles, so let’s just go out there and get over the last one.”

A change in the format inadvertently played to Boland’s strengths.

Due to heavy thunder storms and lightning forecast for the afternoon, the final round started with singles followed by foursomes.

In their first five matches, Boland banked 34 out of a possible 40 points available in the singles and, despite everything Mpumalanga threw at them, the team emerged with a 5 – 3 lead.

Ruan Groenewald scored the first point for Mpumalanga when he defeated Ethan Smith 5 & 4, but Riaan Rooi downed Banele Mavuso 4 & 3 to level the score.

Aidon Willemse and Herman Loubser added two more points to Boland’s tally and Dandre Spies, Daniel Cronje, Willem Boshoff and skipper Tyron Davidowitz took their total to five points when the quartet all halved their games.

“Starting with the singles definitely gave us a chance to build a cushion, but it was very tight and the result speaks volumes about the guts and determination of this team,” said Zaayman.

“We were up in seven games, but Mpumalanga’s players really stepped it up after the turn. Dandre, Daniel, Willem and Tyron hung tough all the way to the end to give us the cushion. We went into the foursomes needing just one point to draw the match and the guys knew the score.

“Tyrone and Willem took on Cameron Borcher and Jacques Brits and bagged us the vital point with a 2 & 1 win. If you want to know who the most valuable player in the team was this week, just look at all eight names. This team batted fantastic from one to eight. They played as a unit and they supported each other right up until the end and that’s why we earned promotion.

“They are a gritty group of golfers and they just don’t know how to quit. Every player in the squad can fairly share in this triumph. I am incredibly proud of our team, for their complete commitment to the team, their dedication to each other and showing great strength of character when the going got tough.

“Finally we congratulate Mpumalanga on hosting a fantastic inter-provincial and we toast their team for a highly entertaining, hard-fought final round battle.”

Mpumalanga reached the final match with four victories and two draws and another all-square result helped the side to edge out North West for second in the standings.

In the other final round matches, North West beat Eastern Province 9 – 3 and Border eked out a narrow 6.5 – 5.5 victory against Border.

B-SECTION Final Round Scores
Boland 6 vs Mpumalanga 6
Northern Cape 5.5 vs Border 6.5
North West 9 vs Eastern Province 3

(Pos-Union-Played-Won-Drawn-Lost-Points-Matches won)
1 Boland (6, 5, 1, 0, 11, 54.5)
2 Mpumalanga (6, 4, 2, 0, 10, 52)
3 North West (6, 4, 1, 1, 9, 45)
4 Eastern Province (6, 3, 0, 3, 6, 37)
5 Limpopo (6, 2, 0, 4, 4, 28.5)
6 Border (6, 1, 0, 5, 2, 19.5)
7 Northern Cape (6, 0, 0, 6, 0, 15.5)

PHOTO – 2016 SA U-19 Inter-Provincial B-Division champions Boland; credit SAGA.
Back, left to right: Dandre Spies, Herman Loubser, manager Alwyn Zaayman, Riaan Rooi and Willem (LB) Boshoff.
Front, left to right: Aidon Willemse, Ethan Smith, captain Tyrone Davidowitz and Daniel Cronje.

Written and released by Lali Stander on behalf of the South African Golf Association.

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