Date: April 16, 2019
Author: Mark Hayes

#JuniorIntSeries: Vics on girls’ title brink

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The Victorian girls flexed their muscle today, all but assuring victory in the Junior Interstate Series in Toowoomba.

In a pivotal morning match against title rival Western Australia, the Vics were always in trouble in the No.2 match, eventually won by the impressive Abbie Teasdale, 6&5 over Piper Stubbs.

But the defending champions were in trouble in the lower-order matches and when Sheradyn Johnson got the better of 2018 Australian Girls’ champion Maddison Hinson-Tolchard to win 2-up, the Vics saluted 4-1.

At the same time, Queensland suffered what later turned into a terminal blow, halving its match with a plucky South Australian outfit, which earned its first point when SA's Amelia Whinney toppled Lion Higo 1-up minutes after Caitlin Peirce and Stanthorpe’s Hannah Reeves fought out a tense halved match.

After a flat day one, New South Wales fought hard for an early 3-2 victory against the Composite team, but then powered up late against South Australia in the afternoon to win 5-0, the same margin Victoria enjoyed against the Composite squad.

All of which left Queensland and Western Australia to do battle in a key afternoon clash that swung throughout.

Queenslanders Reeves and Higo squared the contest at 2-2 after Eve Cohen and Yeah-Jin Lee had given WA an early edge.

But in the battle of the big guns, Hinson-Tolchard stood up when it counted and over-ran Northern Territory Amateur champ Cassie Porter to keep WA’s title defence mathematically alive.

Victoria plays Queensland on Wednesday morning needing to win only one of its five matches to be guaranteed of the title, and even then WA would need to whitewash NSW for the Vics not to triumph overall.

At Sanctuary Cove, NSW took command of the boys’ championship with its fourth consecutive win to set up what’s likely to be a make-or-break Wednesday morning match against arch rival Victoria.

After defeating the ACT in the morning, NSW rallied after trailing in four of the five matches to come back over the closing nine and defeat WA 3-2 in the afternoon.

Peter Ipkendanz, proud but relieved NSW team manager, said it was “just determination that got the boys through”.

“After the 13th hole, we were still down in four of the five matches,” Ipkendanz said.

“However, they’re the sort of guys that just don’t give up and they just fought it out.”

The winners for New South Wales were spearhead Harrison Crowe, Lachlan Jones and Jeffrey Guan, the latter two overcoming two-hole deficits after the opening nine.  

After being comprehensively beaten by South Australia in the morning, Victoria rebounded to defeat defending champion Queensland 3-2 in a pulsating afternoon clash.

With matches tied at two apiece, the contest all came down to the No. 3 match between Victorian Nathan Page and Queensland’s Tyler Duncan.

After Duncan savagely lipped out from a metre on the pair’s 17th hole, Page held a one-hole advantage going down the downwind par-five fourth – their final hole. Duncan found the green in two to earn an eagle putt of 9m, while the long-hitting Page just overshot the green with an 8-iron.

First to play, Duncan ran his eagle chance just past the hole. With an uphill lie and the wind in his face, Page pitched indifferently to 2m beyond the flag, but showed nerves of steel to make the birdie putt to keep Victoria’s title hopes alive.

South Australia, Western Australia and Queensland all remain alive, with two and a half contest wins apiece, but will be keenly awaiting the result of the New South Wales and Victoria contest.

A Victorian win would bring them all back into the title frame, depending on their respective results.