Stephen Creed - County Captain - Tuesday, 7 August, 2012
The season started earlier than previous years and it has passed quicker than Usain Bolt in the 100 meters. Warwickshire's fourth match would be hosted by Harborne Golf Club just a Javelin throw from the centre of Birmingham.
Harborne Golf Club founded in 1893 is a well established parkland layout set in rolling countryside in the district of Harborne Birmingham. The course designed by H S Colt and measuring 6210 yards and with a par of 70 is a great match play course; its main defence is the well bunkered greens and the tricky slopes that dominate most of the holes.
The forecast was for heavy showers all day and based on the previous days down pours could potentially flood the greens in minutes. The team arrived to a well prepared course and our thanks go to the green staff for preparing the course in such great condition for our match.
As has been the theme this year the team has come from a solid pool of players and I had almost a full squad to choose from for this match. Ryan Wallace was the only player missing due to a hectic schedule at the English Amateur and his club championship the day before. Making his long awaited debut for the County first team would be Gary Greenway from Atherstone Golf Club a quality player and a first team appearance which has been long overdue.
Staffordshire fielded a mix of young and experienced players like Dave Wally, Ben Russell, Jack Gaunt, Sam Benton and Freddie Sheringham-Mills. They were without a couple of established players due to similar English Amateur duties.
Rob Browning and Chris Dougill lead the team out against the pairing of Darren Smith and Matt Feavyour and they got off to a great start with a couple of birdies on the 5th and 6th holes set up by the stunning iron play from Chris Dougill. They extended their lead and finally won 4/3 and we were off to a great start.
Sam Dodds and Sam Foster would take on the pairing of Dave Wally and Kevin Beattie (Capt) but they were soon down early in the match and were 1 down through 7 holes. A stunning second shot from Sam Dodds on the 8th set up the eagle and a solid put from Sam Foster converted the 12ft put to bring the match back to level. Some good play by their opponents again them go 3 down after 15 holes and they finally lost 3/2. Not the result we wanted and the match stood all square.
Jamie Carney and Elliot Forbes would take on Ryan Cornfield and Freddie Sheringham ?Mills and a good start saw the pair take the lead on the 5th hole. Another win on the 7th put them 2 up and they looked certain to go three up on the 8th when Ryan holed out from the front greenside bunker for a four and the pair could only half the hole. A wayward tee shot on the 11th saw the match back to one up. Some good play from their opposition playing partners saw them one down through 14 holes and they finally finished losing 2 and 1.
Out next was the solid pairing of Stuart Bloxham and Richard Oddy who would face the formidable pairing of Jack Davies and Ben Russell. They however were not prepared for the stunning golf that their opposition launched against them, 6 birdies through 12 holes saw the pair finish 7/5 loss. Stunning golf from Jack and Ben.
Last out would be Tom Ibbertson and Gary Greenway, who would face Sam Benton and Jack Gaunt, two tenacious players. A steady start saw the pair 1 up through 7 holes and a great 5 iron to five and a half feet from Tom set up the eagle put on the 8th to go 2 up after 9 holes. The fight back inevitably game and the pair were back to A/S through the 11th but some solid play got them back to 1 up through the 14th and they closed out the match 1 up
A good morning foursome's performance from Staffordshire and we were behind for the first time this season in the morning foursomes.
The Morning result was 3 and 2 to Staffordshire.
Lunch was taken and in came the rain that had been promised. Black heavy thundery clouds loomed in our direction and a quick chat saw the start delayed to let the thunder and rain go by.
A quick pep talk at lunch refocused the team combined with a few order changes saw the team go out with determination to repair the damage of the morning foursomes.
Sam Dodds got us underway against Dave Wally. Sam played some great golf in the opening holes and reached the turn 3 up after nine holes. Another win on the 11th and he was 4 up a rally by Dave got it back to 3 through 15 holes but a par on the 15th saw the match 4 and 2 win and we were back on level terms in the match.
Second out was Sam Foster against Ben Russell in this very tight match with no more than 1 hole in the match. Sam forged ahead narrowly on the 16th but two losses in the last two holes saw him loose 1 down. Staffs were again in the lead.
Rob who normally goes out number one in the singles took on Jack Davies and from what I can tell was always in command in the match and he finally closed out the match 2/1.The match was back in the balance at all square 4 points each.
Chris Dougill was paired against Freddie Sheringham- Mills and a very tight front 11 holes saw him 1up. A terrific up and down on the 12th to half the hole saw him keep his narrow lead. Chris closed out his match on the 17th to win 2/1 and the balance finally swung in the direction of Warwickshire 5/4.
Jamie Carney added strength to the middle order a position which he has made his own. Jamie found himself 3 down after 6 holes but that didn?t worry Jamie and a win on the 7th brought the match back to 2 down but with work still to do. By the 15th hole he was back in command 2 up a lead he would maintain and closed out the match 2/1. The best turnaround of the day and a valued point from Jamie. 6/4 to Warwickshire.
Elliot Forbes took an early 1 up lead against Jack Gaunt and the match was all square after halving in 2s on the 6th. He was 1 down after 7 holes and a great fight back he reached the 12th tee all square. He went I down again after the 15th but a great finish saw him win 1 up. The match was now looking comfortable with a 7/4 lead established.
Stuart Bloxham took on the quality of Sam Benton and after being up for most of the match 2 up through 14 holes he made some poor decisions of the tee and would lose 1 down. The match was back to 7/5.
Richard Oddy was next out and played Staffordshire Captain Kevin Beattie, Rich found himself 2 up through 4 holes after a birdie but reached the 12th tee all square. Some good play from Kevin saw him take the lead and Rich was 1 down through 16 holes. I then had the pleasure of the gutsiest finish of the day as Richard won the 17th with a great up and down from off the green and then halved the last to secure half a point. The match was now 7 1/2 to 5 1/2. And anything could happen.
Tom Ibbertson playing down the order to ensure a safe pair of hands if required on a close finish played Matt Feavyour. Tom made steady progress and was 2 up through 11 holes and 3 under par. A hole lost on the 15th saw the match back to only 1 up but a great 8ft birdie put on the 16th saw him 2 up stood on the 17th. A wayward approach to the 17th green and in the deep rough saw tom only manage to get the ball 20ft from the hole with Matt in the hole for 4 Tom needed to hole his put to win the match. Cometh the moment cometh the man and Tom slotted the 20ft putt to win the match. 8 ? to 5 ?
Last but no means least came Gary Greenway bringing up the rear. Gary was 1 up after the first hole and never looked in any danger. A great 25ft birdie putt on the 11th saw him go 3 up through 11 holes. A hick-up round the back of the course saw him back to 2 up after 14 holes. Another birdie on the 15th and the match was over and he won on the 16th 3 and 2. A great debut for Gary and one of many first team appearances I'm sure to come. The match then finished 9 1/2 to 5 1/2 to Warwickshire.
PM Result 7 ? Warwickshire to 2 1/2 to Staffordshire.
A really big thank you to Harborne Golf Club and its members for allowing us to use their course and for the warm welcome and great hospitality they provided on the day.
Thanks go to John Jewsbury and John Duncombe for there superb support throughout the day.
I would like to thank Kevin Beattie and his team for a very close and well fought match. Also to the Staffordshire President and his Wife who attended on the day.
AM Result 3 to 2 to Staffordshire
PM Result 7 1/2 to 2 1/2 to Warwickshire
Final Result 9 1/2 to 5 1/2 to Warwickshire
CLICK HERE for the Match Scorecard
A fantastic turn around for Warwickshire in the afternoon to win the match and make it four out of four. As this report is written rumours of other results have been filtering through and if those rumours are true then Warwickshire may have secured the League title with this fine performance. I will keep you posted on the Warwickshire web site.
I would like to say a really big thank you to all my players who delivered one of the most controlled performances of the campaign. I am truly proud to be able to captain this squad of players. They never fail to impress with their team spirit, their drive to win and their attitude and commitment to playing County golf. I look forward to leading them out in our next match at Sherwood Forest Golf Club against Nottinghamshire in September.
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