The Manawatu Wanganui Boys' Interprovincial team has finished a disappointing 9th from 10 teams in the Boys Interprovincial this year. With the addition of two South Island teams the format was a little different this year and the draw probably did us no favours. The team finished bottom of what was no doubt the strongest pool of the two sides of the draw, and unfortunately the team failed to finish off some very close results throughout the week. Today we played Eastland for 9th and 10th, and won that match comfortably 6 - 2. In past years we would have got to play all the teams throughout the week, but without the opportunity to play some of the teams which we had a better chance of beating, then the 9th placing could be seen as a little mis-representative of the ability of the team.
However it was always probable that a couple of the inexperienced players were always going to be out of their depth a little against the stronger teams. Each team is required to enter three players that are Under 16, and unfortunately the current cycle of players we had to select from, apart from Greg Shaw, are at a different level of their development, for what is ideal to be competing at this event in off the stick matchplay. However this is no doubt great experience for them, and we hope they learnt lots about their own games and which areas that improvement is required. Next year they will likely be far more competitive.
Our Under 19 players of Rhys Harold, Michael Birchall, Josh Sedgwick, Nic Quantock-Holmes and Liam Finlayson, along with U16 player Greg Shaw, are all relatively experienced and all had some great individual results for the week. Unfortunately they could not quite all get the job done against the stronger provinces, which all had quality opposition. Results against both Waikato and Northland were both 4.5 - 3.5. Our defeats against both Bay of Plenty and Canterbury, were also much closer than the final margin suggests.
However the Boy's all gave it their best and that's the most we can really ask of them. Some of those players will be back again next year, along with a couple of new faces. In the meantime it is important that we do our best to prepare players for this level of competition, through events such as our Pennant series, and other events held in our district and other districts also.
Liam Finlayson - Consistent performer at this years Boys Interprovincial