The NZ Women’s Interprovincial took place last week in Timaru with our Canterbury Woman’s team coming agonising close to lifting the title progressing all the way through to the final vs Wellington. The team got off to a flying start with 4 wins from 4 with all members of team contributing along the way towards the teams’ victories. After a couple of defeats on the last round-robin day we faced a nervous wait before our semi-final spot was confirmed. The team performed well to bypass BOP on their way the final where they went down to ladies from the capital 3.5-1.5.
Day 1 started out perfectly with the team having a big first-up win against Taranaki 4-1. May, Bell, and Tapu all getting big wins to contribute towards an early-round 1 finish and a longer break going into round 2 vs host Aorangi. Similar to the morning the top of the order got the job done with May and Bell getting 6/5 and 3/1 wins respectively. With losses to Tapu and Eder at No.3 and No.4 however it came down to Newburn who pulled through with a 2/1 win to secure a tight 3-2 victory over our South Canterbury neighbors.
With the confidence of day 1 the team again performed very well on day 2 where they came up against Northland and Hawkes Bay Poverty Bay. Wins at 1, 2, and 3 and an A/S for Newburn were enough for victory in a match that went down to the final holes in all matchups. This theme continued into the afternoon round 4 match where the ladies again prevailed 3.5-1.5 which included several close matches. Captain Catherine Bell again won her match-up at No.2 to complete a 100% record up until that point in the tournament.
With those first 4 wins in the bank the team they enjoyed a day off on the Thursday as they drew the BYE. Whilst the mid-week break was good for recovery the team perhaps did lose some momentum when they returned to action the next day. This was evident in a round 6 loss vs Otago on the Friday 2-3. Wins to Tapu and Newburn had the game in the balance but unfortunately, the top of the order was unable to produce the same heroics as earlier in the week going down in the final holes for our first loss of the tournament. Going into the last round-robin match, semi-finals qualification remained in our hands with a half being enough to confirm qualification, and even with a loss it would still remain likely we would progress. Unfortunately, with the extremely tight turnaround from round 6 to round 7 meaning the ladies had to effectively move from the 18th tee to the first, the effects were evident, and the team went on to suffer a heavy 4-1 defeat to Bay of Plenty who in the process finished top of the table after round-robin play. With the early finish we then had to nervously await the outcome of the Aorangi vs Northland match, in which Northland would need to win 5-0 to take the fourth and while spot at Canterbury’s expense. Fortunately, Aorangi managed to prevail 3-2 and Canterbury secured 4th place and semi-finals the following day.
Moving into the semi-final vs Bay of Plenty the team were determined to put the result just 12hours earlier behind them and take it to the previously undefeated Bay of Plenty. And that they did, Newburn anchoring the team at 5 set the tone early turning around a heavy 9/8 defeat to the same opponent the day earlier to impressively come out on top 3/2. Maddie May, leading the order at just 17 years of age, then herself turnaround her previous day’s defeat to Taylor-Rose Perrett winning 5/4 to give Canterbury 2 wins on the board. With Bell and Tapu losing it came down to No. 4 Rachel Eder to find a result. Trailing for most of the contest Eder fought back to square the match on the 18th, forcing a playoff hole. Thankfully Eder, who took up the sport just 10 years ago, held her nerve to sink a par putt which was enough to send the team through to the final.
Attention now turned to the final where they faced Wellington, who themselves had just defeated 2nd ranked Manawatu/Wanganui 3-2. An experienced opposition who had played together for the previous 5 NZ Interprovincial tournaments, it was always going to be a tough match. An early defeat at No.1 and subsequent defeat at No.3 meant Canterbury were on the back foot early. But with the Bell, Eder and Newburn games all in the balance we still had hope. Bell went on to win her match 2/1 which meant we required Newburn to half her match with Eder also leading her match at the time. Unfortunately, with a tough final putt Newburn eventually fell 1D meaning Wellington had their 3 wins on the board. Eder went on to A/S her match with Wellington taking it out 3.5-1.5.
So an eventual runners up finish for our ladies who played extremely well all week and made the region proud. Captain Catherine Bell was the highlight performance leading from the front with 6 wins and 2 losses. Both Tapu and May also recorded 4 wins and Newburn and Eder 3 wins respectively from their 8 matches highlighting the team effort all week. Mention must be made too of 16-year-old, Jasmine Clancy who was the team reserve all week and her support of the team whilst juggling NCEA exams. Thanks too to the team managers Debbie Scott and Jocelyn Blackmore-Holten who supported the team superbly all year.
The full results can be found – HERE.