EKURHULENI defeated Western Province (WP) and North West downed Eastern Province to celebrate two historic victories in the South African U19 Inter-Provincial at East London Golf Club last week Friday.
Ekurhuleni won the A-Division title for the first time in almost 30 years, while North West came out tops in the battle for promotion in division B and will make their A-Division debut in next year’s championship.
Ekurhuleni led the log with nine points, but WP had eight points and two games points advantage as the two teams teed off in the final round. The foursomes ended 2.5 – 1.5 in Ekurhuleni’s favour, but the 2014 champions WP went into the singles guns blazing.
Through nine holes, it was still too tough to call.
Sam Simpson mowed down Marco Massiceti 6 and 5 to level the score, but Ryan van Velzen beat Ayden Senger 5 and 4 to put Ekurhuleni ahead again. Junior Presidents Cup team-mates Luca Filippi from WP and Ekurhuleni’s Jayden Schaper both won 4 and 3, but the scales started tipping in Ekurhuleni’s favour when Nash de Klerk downed Francois Cilliers 3 and 1. Yurav Premlall made a crucial par at the final hole to beat Idrees Saban 1-up and put Ekurhuleni’s six point on the board. Warrick Purchase and Casey Jarvis both squared their matches and the extra point sealed a 7.5 – 4.5 victory for the 2017 champions.
“The Junior IPT dates back to 1966 and when you look down the winner’s list, it’s easy to understand where all that fire in the belly came from,” manager said.
“The last time our juniors held the trophy was back in 1988. That was 29 years ago and we were still called Eastern Transvaal. This victory has been five years in the making, because these boys have been playing together for a long time. This team won three out of the four quadrangulars we played in this year. Now they are the SA U19 IPT champions,” he said.
Turton said keeping the strategy fluid contributed to their unbeaten performance.
“Over the four rounds, we made some changes to the pairings or line-up along the way and they paid off,” he said. “For Province in the final round, we switched up some of our foursomes, pitting our strongest players against theirs, and it worked. Our bottom order were unbelievable. Between them, Nash, Ryan and Warwick claimed 17.5 points in 18 singles, so we sent them in to bat first to take the pressure off the bottom order. “Casey, Yurav, Marco and Jordan had some tough opponents thrown at them, but they never stopped fighting. Jayden at number one lived up to his star billing. He completed the Grand Slam of Nomads SA Boys titles this year and rose to number one in the country. He went undefeated this week and now he add the SA U19 IPT title to his CV too,” said Turton.
Burnand said the SA Inter-Provincial experience in September was priceless.
“Nash, Yurav, Marco and Jayden played in last year’s Junior IPT, but if it wasn’t for the premier SA IPT, I think Casey and I might have struggled,” Burnand said.
“That’s where we learned the difference between stroke play and match play. You can’t give away a shot in match play and it was a huge learning curve for both of us.
“I am incredibly proud of the team. The guys stayed upbeat and positive all week and they fought like demons right up until the last putt dropped. We are stoked to take this trophy back home.”
Central Gauteng beat KwaZulu-Natal 7.5 – 4.5 to pip Western Province for second place and Southern Cape finished in fourth after defeating Gauteng North 7.5 – 4.5. Boland, who had a final round bye, was relegated.
Warwick shared the Most Valuable Player honour with Bridge Fund Managers Junior Series Paarl winner, Simpson and Haydn Driver from Central Gauteng. The trio banked 10 points each.
North West needed just 1.5 points to win the B-Division. Despite a valiant effort from Eastern Province in their final round tussle, the log leaders wrapped up a hugely successful campaign with a 6.5 – 5.5 victory to finish the week six-for-six in matches played and won.
Moreover, full marks earned North West the coveted promotion and they will debut in the A-Division next year.
Border bounced back from their fourth round loss to North West to beat Limpopo 9 – 3 and finished the championship with 10 points, and with a well-deserved second place in the standings. Eight points moved Eastern Province into third.
Oliver Goldhill from North West edged out fellow team member Tshimolo Mapefane and Andrew Jeffrey from Eastern Province by just half a point to win the Most Valuable Player honour. Goldhill won all his singles and collected 5.5 points in the foursomes to take the top spot with 11.5 points.