The Boys Junior Inter Provincial tournament was held in Cambridge last week.The format is 6 players – 4 x Under 19 and 2 x U16 plus a reserve who is also Under 16.They play 5 matches in round-robin play based on last year’s results and then each team plays a team from the other section to determine seeding for next year and also the Champion.
Our team included 5 players from Remuera – Daniel Freeman (No.2 U19), Nathan Smith (No.4 U19), Robby Turnbull (No.1 U16), Finlay McKechnie (No.2 U16) and Eamon Wairepo (U16 Reserve).When the reserve plays the other players all move up one slot. The remaining players were Henry Wang from Pakuranga (No.1 U19) and Archie Gothard from Royal Auckland/Grange (No.3 U19 and Captain).
Day One – a narrower than expected win over Northland suggested a bit of a nervous start. In fact Nathan Smith had to hole a 25ft putt on the 18th green to secure the all important half and get us our first 2pts – 3.5-2.5. A much-improved performance in the afternoon over Otago resulted in a 5-1 win. Each player was clearly growing in confidence and we could head into Wednesday in a good frame of mind.
Day Two – another very good performance over Manawatu-Wanganui (5.5-0.5) meant we were the only team in our section with a perfect played-3; won-3 record going into the afternoon break.The team relaxed at Okororie Springs for the afternoon and looked forward to 2 very big games the next day against Taranaki and then Canterbury.
Day Three – a bit like Tuesday we battled hard to beat a resilient Taranaki (3.5-2.5) in the morning.Then we were surprised and delighted to see that Northland had beaten Canterbury which meant we were through to the final as Canterbury could no longer catch us. The players were much more relaxed and won 3.5-2.5 to go to the final with a perfect record. Our opponents were to be Wellington after they beat Bay of Plenty 5-1 in a winner-take-all match.
Finals Day – the matches were in reverse order with the No.6s off first. There was nothing in it as the matches went through the half-way point – 1up, 1down or square. Eamon Wairepo won the 11th and 15th to head to the 16th tee 2up with 3 to play.He then chipped and one-putted for a par 4 and secure the win 3/2.We needed 3 more wins and Archie Gothard got our second win 3/2 on the same green.When we looked at the 17th green we knew that we had the 4 wins as Robby Turnbull was walking back to join us (win 2/1) and Nathan Smith also secured his win 2/1 straight after him. Although Daniel Freeman and Henry Wang had narrow losses – that didn’t matter.
It was a great team effort with the boys supporting each other every day – the reserves on each day caddied for the players’ needing a bit of support, and the whole team gathered around to bring the player’s home.