And we had a Draw in Derbyshire
Karl Smith - 2nds Captain - Saturday, 12 May, 2012
Asbourne Golf Club is an established course with some interesting and memorable holes and some a little quirky. The wind blew heavily from the start on Sunday coupled with slow early season greens this was going to be a test mentally as well as physically.
To start the morning foursomes l paired the in-form and ever-steady Paul Walker with the chirpy Will Smith (recently 3rd in the Whittington Trophy), performing well with under par scoring they secured first blood to Warwickshire with a 4 & 3 victory.
This was reversed with James Bromley and Chris Staite struggling a little with the windy conditions going down by the same score 4 & 3.
Paul Harben from Copt Heath has experienced plenty of 2nd Team golf and the odd visit to the 1st's, but not featured much in the last couple of seasons. He seemed pleased to be back in the Warks set-up and partnered myself to a tight but rewarding 2 & 1 victory.
Fourth out was a new pairing of Gary Greenway and Shaun Young - following prodigious tee shots from Gary (who says he has lost a bit off the tee!!) this gave Shaun some unusually short shots into the greens, and with solid such putting they recorded a heavy 8 & 6 win to put Warwickshire 3 - 1 up with the last game looking to go the distance.
Youthful pairing George Allen and Rob Owens used their practice round knowledge to produce steady foursomes golf needing a last hole win to secure a valuable half point to keep us two points ahead at lunch. Rob drove nicely at the tricky dog-leg right par 4, George wedged on but not close but their opponents had missed the green. Rob tried to putt 'dead' but left it 3 feet short on the woolly slow surface
Derbyshire missed their par attempt leaving George to coolly slot home the winning par putt to record a hard fought half.
Ahead 3.5 to 1.5 at lunch!
So, to the singles and needing 5.5 points to gain a key away victory.
A buoyant Paul Walker felt confident, hit the ball great in his match but the greens beat him as well as his oppenent and a 4 & 3 loss resulted. Then we had a little purple patch with three 5 & 4 victories from Will Smith,
Gary Greenway and Shaun Young both left Derbyshire with 100% records on the day - under par golf from Gary and Will in difficult conditions proved they are quality players and Shaun chipped and putted beautifully to the misery of his oppenent.
6.5 to 2.5 and looking comfortable!
Chris Staite battled well at No.4 and produced another half point to the tally...... and then the Warwickshire machine started to stumble and falter.
James Bromley admits his play in very windy conditions is not his strength and this gave Derbyshire the chance to halt the bleeding with a 4 & 3 victory.
Paul Harben quickly followed Bromley to the calm of the Clubhouse with a stone cold putter and a loss in the middle of the back nine.
Rob Owens and George Allen (in the last two singles positions) could not stem the Derbyshire fightback and lost 5 & 4 and 4 & 3 respectively.
Seven a piece and one game left on the course in the form of yours truly. I was in control of my game early being 3 up after 8 but struggled around the turn to stand on the 15th tee all square. A disgusting 3-putt bogey on the par 5 15th gave my opponent a brief lead but a solid Par 3 on the very tough 16th restored parity.
I had a chance on 17 but could not convert my 8ft birdie attempt and then l turned the corner to the downwind 18th to be told the match was 7-7.
Following two good drives, l tugged my wedge just off the left edge (nearly in a water hazard !. My opponent came up short on the front edge. I chipped to about 5ft and the Derby man left his first putt about 9ft short but like he had done most of the day he rolled it in to the delight of the Debyshire players around the green.
In my first League game as Captain, l could not let my team depart without something and my five footer duly disappeared to record a satisfying half and match draw.
My thanks to the Derbyshire lads for a great tussle, Ashbourne Golf Club for their hospitality shown to us on Saturday and Sunday, John Powell for supporting us and of course all my team that committed to the Saturday practice giving us the chance to take away a valuable half from Derby which could prove very useful later in our campaign.
Next game is at home to Worcestershire at Moor Hall on Sunday 3rd June.
CLICK HERE for the full Match Scorecard from the day