THE Eastern Province men’s squash team earned promotion at the annual Jarvis Cup squash interprovincial in Pretoria last week after emerging triumphant in the C section.
Under pressure after being demoted last year, the EP team enjoyed a fine week to end unbeaten, drawing high praise from manager and coach Richard Driscoll, and they will return to the B section in 2013.
Driscoll, who has been closely involved in trying to revamp the provincial preparations, was pleased with the effort put in by all the EP players at the tournament.
"The men’s B team comfortably retained their position in the C section and the women were highly competitive, although ending fourth in the women’s A section,” he said. "Jacqui Ryder did a fantastic job of captaining the side, while Lizelle Goosen did exceptionally well, taking the SA No1 [Milnay Louw] to five games and beating highly rated English player Lauren Siddall [for Easterns].
"The spirit among all 16 players was really good. The players were committed both on and off the court and it just shows what you can do with good preparation.”
The results were rewards for the efforts the players had put in ahead of the interprovincial.
At times in the past, EP had failed to prepare adequately or players had not performed at their best level.
But this time, the squad showed the necessary commitment, Driscoll said.
"The preparations prior to the tournament played a big role,” he said.
EP will now need to build on this performance by maintaining these standards for next year’s tournament.
The competitive nature of the Jarvis Cup is shown by the fact that EP ended only four points ahead of Western Province C and were taken the full distance by Border B in their final match.
After losing the ties at numbers four and five, EP’s top players Rudi van Niekerk and Sean Bailey came through to clinch the match 17-10 and the title.
The final logs were:
Men’s C section: 1 EP A 88, 2 WP B 84, 3 Border B 69, 4 EP B 47, 5 Central Gauteng C 38, 6 KwaZulu-Natal C 33.
Women’s A section: 1 Central Gauteng 79, Northerns 86 (Gauteng took the title because they were unbeaten), 3 WP 69, 4 EP 52, 5 Easterns 28, 6 SACD A 19.