Junior IPT Review, plus Junior & Mid-Am rankings.
Central Gauteng is a traditional powerhouse at the Junior Interprovincial, but with an inexperienced line-up which included six rookies, they wouldn’t have been too confident going into the tournament at White River Country Club in Mpumalanga. But the young lions surprised everyone by winning the title in a closely contested A section with a day to spare. Only one point separated the top four teams at the end of the week.
Central had 10 top-3 finishes in the Junior IPT between 2004 and 2015, but this was only the third time this millennium they had won the trophy – the other occasions being at Bellville in 2013, and Bloemfontein in 2009.
They began the week with two impressive victories over defending champions Southern Cape (7-5) and KwaZulu-Natal (8-4) on the first day. After a bye on day two, Central thumped newly promoted Free State 8-4 and secured a 6-6 half against Western Province, with seven of the eight singles going to the 17th hole.An 8-4 win over closest rivals Ekurhuleni in a key match on day four guaranteed the title. Central’s final day 7½-4½ loss to Gauteng North was thus inconsequential, although losing their unbeaten record did hurt.
“We don’t usually single out individual players for praise, but team captain Keelan van Wyk deserves special mention for leading the side to victory in his fourth and final Junior IPT,” said Central manager Andy Truluck.Van Wyk (Ruimsig) was in the winning team as a 15-year-old at Bellville in 2013 under Darin de Smidt’s captaincy. Playing at the top of the order in the singles, he won four and halved one of his six matches.
A Section MVP honours were shared by Central’s Cole Stevens and Southern
Cape’s Martin Vorster, who each won 10 points out of 12. Stevens was the only player with an unbeaten singles record in the A section.Van Wyk, who partnered Stevens in the foursomes, earned nine points, and the other Central team members were Eric Wowor (7), Reece Haikney (7), Kian Rose (6½), Bryce Leach (6), Emilio Pera (5) and Shaun Jones (4½).
KZN fought back after two defeats on the first day, winning four matches in a row, including Ekurhuleni 8-4 on the final day, to take second place in the A section on a countout of games from Southern Cape and Gauteng North. Luke Mayo, at No 1 in the singles, and Seb Terblanche were their best players, unbeaten together in foursomes.
B section winners Boland were unbeaten, a quick response to their ignominious relegation at home club Worcester in 2015. They enjoyed big victories over Northern Cape (11½-½), North West (8½-3½), Border (10½-1½) and Limpopo (11-1) before edging Eastern Province 7-5 to set up a final day clash for honours with Mpumalanga.
The final day saw a format change, as a thunderstorm was forecast for the afternoon.The day began with singles, which played to Boland’s strength.They took a 5-3 lead over the home team, which gave them 39 points out of 48 for singles during the week. Mpumalanga fought back to win the foursomes 3-1 and halve 6-6, but that left them a point short of Boland on the log.
The Boland team comprised Tyron Davidowitz (10½ out of 12 points),Willem Boshoff and Daniel Cronje (9½), Herman Loubser, Riaan Rooi and Dandre Spies (8½), Aidon Willemse (8) and Ethan Smith (7½). For the second consecutive year Mpumalanga’s Banele Mavuso was the B Section MVP, with 11 out of 12 points, losing just one singles match, a crucial one, to Boland’s Rooi.
The winning Central Gauteng team. Back, from left, Shaun Jones, Bruce Leach, Cole Stevens and Jaco du Plessis (assistant manager). Middle: Kian Rose, Eric Wowor and Keelan van Wyk (captain). Front: Reece Haickney, Andy Truluck (manager) and Emilio Pera.
The Boland team, with manager Alwyn Zaayman (middle back), were unbeaten in the B Section.