Date: April 29, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes

Batting deep the key for Vics

Victoria turned to its depth today to book a berth in the men’s Interstate Teams Championship.

While Western Australia again received a Herculean performance from ace Jarryd Felton, it wasn’t enough to keep their hopes alive as the hosts rolled through 4.5-2.5 at Huntingdale.

Felton edged Victorian No.1 Ryan Ruffels 2&1 in a high-quality match for his fifth straight victory of the week, remarkably in approximately 25 under against the nation’s top players.

But his heroics weren’t enough.

Curtis Luck made a hard-won half-point with an entertaining half against Lucas Herbert at No.2, but had only Ben Ferguson – 3&1 over Frazer Droop – salute down the order.

The Vics, though, turned to Brett Coletta (2-up over Kiran Day), skipper Ben Eccles (4&2 over Min Woo Lee) and unsung heroes David Micheluzzi and Thomas Power-Horan to seal a berth in Friday’s final.

Coach Marty Joyce was delighted with his team’s even performance.

“They’re doing a very good job all the way through. The bottom four have been playing fantastic which is nice because a lot of the battles have been close going into the back nine,” Joyce said.

“It gives us great confidence, absolutely. The team is very strong as a whole and a lot of the guys could be playing in different spots.

“But the nice thing is they’re more comfortable playing in their spot, playing for a win and not worried about what position they’re in because at the end of the day we need four wins each time, regardless of where they come from.”

In the other morning matches, New South Wales powered past South Australia 5.5-1.5 to take the upper hand in the race to join Victoria.

Queensland slid through with a comfortable 6-1 win over the Northern Territory, which got half-points from two more youngsters in Daniel Brown and Jake Hughes, who did particularly well to square his No.2 match with national squad member Cory Crawford.

Those results effectively eliminated Western Australia from contention and with old rivals Queensland and New South Wales to clash this afternoon, the winner will be in the box seat to advance.

The only other contender is Tasmania, which had the bye this morning and will need to beat WA and Victoria in its closing matches to have any chance.