Interstate: Mixed Bag not enough for Blues

A resounding six matches to two schooling of Tasmania in today’s afternoon contest won’t be enough for the NSW team to advance to tomorrow’s final of Australian Interstate teams matches at Southport Golf Club.

Sadly for New South Wales, the defence of their 2023 crown virtually ended in the morning contest, 4 1/2 to 3 1/2, at the hands of the hosts, Queensland.

The team knew that the contest was a do-or-die affair, and for much of the morning, the result could have gone either way. 

The strong lead-out from the Queenslanders proved decisive, however, with 2023 NSW Amateur champ Shyla Singh fighting her way to a 3/2 win over debutant Amy Squires to score first points.

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The Maroons soon had more points in the win column, with Jeff Pullen unable to do much against a rampant Will Bowen, losing 4/3. Harry Takis was too strong for Coby Carruthers, 5/4, and 2022 NSW Amateur champion Sarah Hammett took care of Annika Rathbone, 3/2.

NSW held firm at the top of the order, with Ella Scaydsbrook taking down the big scalp of Justice Bosio 2/1, Declan O’Donovan holding on to win a tight one against Lincoln Morgan, one up, while Jye Pickin took down the reigning Australian Amateur Champion, Quinnton Croker one up.

Sadly, Rachel Lee couldn’t convert her solid ball striking into a win, with her opponent Hannah Reeves claiming the final hole of the contest for a tie and the vital point for Queensland.

The afternoon contest against the Apple Islanders was a muted affair, and with Rathbone and Pullen rested, Sophie Eppelstun and Jye Halls got a chance to claim their first interstate wins, which they did in style.

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Jye Halls claimed a win in his afternoon match

Halls claimed a one-up win over Elijia Monaghan, while Eppelstun claimed her maiden senior interstate win 3/2.

Amy Squires, who had sat out the opening day, grabbed her first senior interstate point with a 2/1 win over Tahlia Mowat.

Both Eppelstun and Squires were delighted with their match wins, especially with the elevated level of competition.

“It feels great,” Eppelstun grinned. “To have a win after all the hard effort feels great.”

“My golf was a little bit shaky in stages; it wasn’t my best, I know, but I sunk a couple of putts near the end, which helped me.”

“The quality of players here is great; even caddying for Rachel this morning has been great to watch.”

Squires said despite her nerves, she was delighted to have claimed a first win.

“I was pretty nervous last night knowing I was playing, but because I had a great team around me, I could talk to them about how nervous I was feeling. It made me feel a whole lot better.”

“I was actually pretty happy with how I played in the morning. Heath ( Canning), my caddy, kept me calm, and I was confident coming in this afternoon.”

Squires said that despite the Blues’ early exit, there was a lot to take away from the week.

“The whole week has been great; I’ve learnt so much surrounded by, what they do and how they prepare.”

“It’s been such a good experience, and in a way, I’ve got a bunch of new friends.”

Despite the contrasting results, team co-captain Jye Pickin was philosophical about the squad’s performance.

“We knew this morning’s match was going to be like a semi, and the team went out with a positive attitude, but to come up just short was a tough loss,” Jye Pickin lamented.

“It was always going to be tough against them on a course like this with grainy greens that they grow up on.”

Now coming to the end of his state career, Pickin added that he hoped the team, with six debutants, would better understand what the legacy of representing New South Wales is all about.

” I reckon they have all learned so much this week about themselves and what it means to be a Blue. 

“I hope they have taken it all in and enjoyed it.”

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