Boland bounced back into the top draw after showing immense character to lift the B-Section title in the SA Under-19 Inter-Provincial Tournament at Kimberley Golf Club.
Trailing Northern Cape by one point going into the final day and with the threat of another weather-suspension, the eight-man side dug deep to defeat Border 7 – 5 to win the promotion battle with an unbeaten performance.
“I am immensely proud of this team and the character they have shown in what was a turbulent week of weather delays, suspensions and Covid-19 shocks,” said ecstatic team manager Abrie Swanepoel.
“They were absolutely impressive, taking every punch on the chin and just grinding through the challenges to get the job done for Boland.”
Swanepoel said Boland suffered their first setback before the team even set foot in Kimberley.
“Two days before the event, our No 2 Janus Roberts tested positive and was forced to withdraw and isolate on his parents’ farm near Kimberley,” he explained. “Alric Rooi stepped up without reservation and we were ready for our opening double-header against Eastern Province and Free State.
“We were in a great position to win both matches when the siren sounded. After a two-hour suspension the day’s play was abandoned, and because three of our singles were halved, which meant we drew with Eastern Province. We knew from that point that we would have to win every match to come out on top in the promotion battle.”
On day two, Boland handed Limpopo an 11 – 1 hiding and defeated Northern Cape 9 – 3. Another 9 – 3 win over Mpumalanga on day three boosted Boland to the top of the B-Section log.
“We suffered another setback with Timothy Daniels. He felt ill after the third round, and I took him to get tested. After he tested positive, I called Janus and told him to get another test. You can only imagine my relief when he tested negative and could join the team for the final round,” Swanepoel said.
“We kept an eye on the scores during our rest day and we knew the final day would be do-or-die after Northern Cape won both their matches and took the No 1 spot in the log. With thunderstorms forecast for the afternoon, the Singles and Foursomes sessions were swapped, and we knew we need to dominate to score the maximum points in the Singles.”
Dylan Kayne (9 & 7) and Thomas Joubert (6 & 5) netted the first two points for Boland against Border, and JC Engelbrecht made it 3 with his 2 & 1 win. Roberts, playing the course for the very first time, won 3 & 1 to bank another crucial point.
“Alric and Romeo (le Roux) were both 3-down coming down the stretch, but they dug incredibly deep to square their games to put us 5 – 3 up on Border. The last 2 points proved vital, because we were called off just after we started the Foursomes for dangerous weather. We ended up halving the Foursomes when play was abandoned, but we had done enough in the Singles to win.
“I can’t praise these boys enough for their team spirit, endurance and commitment. We were especially proud of our 16-year-old rookie Romeo, our top player for the week who finished third on the Most Valued Player list. And Timothy, who finished in the top 25 despite missing out on the final day.
“It’s great to be back in the A-Section and we have four 16-year-olds who will be playing the SA U-19 IPTs for a few more years, so I am excited about the depth we are creating.”
Meanwhile host union Northern Cape gave a superb account of themselves, finishing second overall on 10 points. The team’s standout player, Jano Malan, racked up 10 points for his team and shared the top honours in the Most Valued Players standings with Malan Potgieter from Eastern Province.
FINAL B-SECTION LOG
1 Boland (6, 5, 1, 0, 11, 50.5)
2 Northern Cape (6, 5, 0, 1, 10, 45.5)
3 Mpumalanga (6, 4, 0, 2, 8, 37)
4 Eastern Province (6, 2, 2, 2, 6, 41.5)
5 Border (6, 1, 1, 4, 3, 33)
6 Free State (6, 1, 0, 5, 2, 22.5)
7 Limpopo (6, 1, 0, 5, 2, 22)