Madibaz squash Jason le Roux was impressed with his team’s efforts at the University Sport South Africa tournament early this month, even though they ended runners-up again.
Played at UCT in Cape Town from June 30 to July 5, Madibaz were defeated in the final by the impressive University of Johannesburg, but Le Roux said he was proud of the performances during a tough week.
“After coming through the ‘pool of death’, the players excelled in defeating Tshwane University of Technology 16-8 and Stellenbosch, in the semifinals, 15-9, to reach their second straight final,” he said.
Although Madibaz went down 24-3 to defending champions UJ, Le Roux said the final scoreline was not a true reflection.
“The team really fought hard to get through to the final and there were small margins, but in the end it was just a hurdle too far after a tough tournament.
“They came through many intense battles and the passion for success and willingness to dig deep cannot be questioned.”
A typical example of the commitment, he said, came in Bianca Brown’s match in the final against UJ’s Jennifer Preece when she went down narrowly in five games.
Other success for Madibaz saw women’s No 1 Hayley Ward end runner-up to three-time champion Alexa Pienaar in the individual final, while Mikayla Boy won the B section.
Madibaz supplied all the women – Ward, Brown and Dani Shone – for the three positions in the USSA Best of the Rest team, made up of players not in the championship-winning team.
Ward, Brown and men’s No 1 Warren Bower were included in the USSA squad from which the team [three men and two women] will be chosen for the World University Championships in China next year.