New South Wales won the day by TKO, but Tasmania is alive and kicking.
That’s the upshot of the men’s #IntSeries after a pulsating third day at Tasmania Golf Club, punctuated by powerhouse displays from the Blues in terminating two unbeaten streaks in succession.
NSW firstly stopped Tasmania 6-1 in the morning, in a match admittedly tighter than the score indicates, then backed up and pumped arch rival Victoria 5-2 to seal a finals berth in the afternoon.
Tasmania, though, not to be counted out, bounced back in the afternoon to halve it match against Western Australia.
This result ended WA’s mathematical chance of reaching the final and, more importantly for the hosts, allowed them to keep their fate in their own hands.
Should Tasmania beat Victoria in Friday morning’s final preliminary match, it will play for its first Interstate trophy since 1977. Should the match be halved or Victoria win, it will be the Big V which tackles NSW for all the marbles later in the afternoon.
Tasmania had been in the box seat to topple WA until very late in the afternoon when Sandgropers skipper and inspiration Haydn Barron earnt his second 1-up victory for the day in pipping Greg Longmore on the last hole.
Earlier, Barron had done the same to former Australian Amateur champion Matias Sanchez when the Vics beat WA in the morning.
Rising youngster Josh Greer surged to halve Tasmania skipper Mitch Van Noord, to also remain unbeaten on Thursday after earlier beating Blake Collyer, of Victoria.
But the Tasmanians had points on the board early to breathe easy after the NSW victory, with the wins of Andrew Phillips, Mark Schulze and former professional Craig Hancock enough to keep the home team’s dream alive.
In the other afternoon match, South Australia broke through for its first win, beating the Northern Territory 5.5-1.5 to ensure they’d finish sixth and seventh respectively.
In better news for the NT, though, No.7 Lachlan Morgan enjoyed his first Interstate victory, while Malcolm Roney halved his match with Ben Layton. The top match between great prospects Jake Hughes and Jack Thompson ended with a 1-up victory for the South Australian world No.54.