Venue: Overstone Park Golf Club
Captain: Stuart Bloxham
Injuries leave Bears licking wounds
We finally got our 2016 season under way after a long winter spell and it’s with great pleasure, and pride, that I lead the team in to this year’s campaign. However, it didn’t go to plan!
Our first friendly of the year was against Northamptonshire at Overstone Park Golf Club. The course was in good condition considering the amount of rain fallen, with the course under water only two weeks prior to this game.
With some of our players still in the States and others unavailable gave me an opportunity to see how hard players had worked on their game over the winter period, or so I thought. Rob Browning had to pull out overnight due to foot injury meaning that Captain, Stuart Bloxham, had to swallow plenty of pain killers, whilst nursing an injured shoulder and play.
Chris Laird, Dale Marson, David Atkins, Gary Greenway, Ian Winstanley, Liam Phipps, Max Martin, Patrick Ruff, Paul Walker, Stuart Bloxham
Patrick Ruff and Max Martin led the team out against Northamptonshire’s number one pairing of Callum Farr and Harry Woan. With some great golf played the match resulted in a deserved half point for both teams.
Liam Phipps and Chris Laird got off to a great start and won their match 5 &3 with some excellent foursomes golf.
Paul Walker partnered Dale Marson and fought hard all morning, however a three putt on the last hole meant Northamptonshire had their first point on the board.
Debutant, David Atkins and Ian Winstanley were out next and looked a solid pairing securing a 3&2 win. David’s first but not last point for Team Warwickshire. Great start.
Then the injured pairing of Stuart Bloxham and Gary Greenway, also nursing an injury, could not sustain the excellent putting from Northamptonshire pair who took the last point in the morning foursomes.
Northamptonshire 2.5 – 2.5 Warwickshire
After a nice Sunday roast lunch, time for the singles and with the morning foursomes shared it was all to play for.
First out was Patrick Ruff who played against Callum Farr. This was nip and tuck all the way round but it was Callum who finally won the game 1up.
Max Martin who played great golf all day and finish around 5 under par for the day, won his match down the last with a superb eagle. A fitting way to finish a great day.
Next out was Liam Phipps who carried on his great performance in the morning with the highest win of the day against Jamie Milligan 6&5. A great start to the season, well played.
Then Chris Laird who played well, found himself up against a tough competitor resulting in a loss along with Ian Winstanley, recovering from pneumonia and struggled to continue his morning play lost 4 &2. A brave effort especially having to carry for 36 holes!
It was great to see Dale Marson return back to first team golf, securing a great birdie, birdie, birdie finish to win his match 1up. Great Spirit from the Rugby man.
Also David Atkins who played solid and great golf all day went on to win his game 4&3 and has certainly staked a claim for his shirt in the first team. A super start to Warwickshire County golf.
With losses from Paul Walker and Stuart Bloxham both 2&1 meant the match was going to be very close.
Unfortunately for Gary Greenway his injured hand forced him to pull out after 3 holes in the afternoon and having to surrender his point meant that Northamptonshire won the match 8.5 – 6.5.
Whilst our injury plagued team lost, there were lots of positives to take from this game which will strengthen our team in readiness for our league campaign which is only 7 weeks away.
Northamptonshire 6 – 4 Warwickshire
Northamptonshire 8.5 – 6.5 Warwickshire
Well played to Greg and his team, I wish Northamptonshire all the best for the season. I would like to thank Overtone Park Golf Club for their hospitality.
Finally thank you to Bob Harrison, President of Warwickshire and Pete Clarke for their support on the day.