The Warwickshire 2nd Team returned to a happy hunting ground, Harborne Golf Club, for the opening League Match of our Title defence.
The weather could hardly have been better, and players were spotted applying sun cream before taking to the golf course, which was in fantastic condition and the greens looked to be running true, not to mention fast!
Warwickshire's impressively strong 2nd Team were lead off in the morning Foursomes by Maxstoke’s Gary Greenway and Hearsall’s Sam Foster. Playing together for the 2ndstraight game, the familiar duo performed fantastically taking the early advantage and getting The Bears off to the ideal start with a 3&1 victory. Well done Gaz & Foss!
Following them was The Belfry’s David Atkins, making his 2nd Team League Debut, partnering David was Long-time Harborne Member, and ex club championship winner Chris Staite, who now plays his golf at Robin Hood. Dave & Chris grabbed an early advantage but by their own admission did not play their best golf on Harborne’s tough closing holes, finishing their match all square and earning an honourable half point.
Next to tee off were Joe McIlwraith (Olton GC) and Elliot Forbes (Kenilworth GC), the impressive pair had their hands full with some very solid and occasionally spectacular Nottinghamshire Golf, and ran out of steam on the back 9 succumbing to a 3&2 defeat.
4th off in the Foursomes was Stratford upon Avon’s Morgan Jackson, alongside Maxstoke’s Paul Talker, sorry I mean, Walker! These 2 were never short of conversation and played some amazing foursomes golf to lead through the turn, they pulled further ahead on the back 9 with yet more birdies, to be 4 under par and claim a 4&3 win over very 2 experienced Notts’ opponents, including Notts 2nd Team Captain Andy Cook, who themselves were under par when they lost! Just testament to how well Morg & Paul performed.
Last but by no means least off were 2 Warwickshire Stalwarts and previous Team Captains, Karl Smith (Handsworth), partnering the illustrious Steve Creed (Maxstoke GC). This match was always close but looked to slipping out of Warwickshire’s grasp when they had to take a penalty drop on the 15th due to a seemingly decent tee shot finishing up against a tree. But unaffected they fought back winning the last 2 holes to claim an important half point and giving Warwickshire a slender lead at lunch. Warwickshire 3, Notts 2.
Keen to set the tone for the afternoon singles, the job of 1st out was entrusted to Dave Atkins. Faith in Dave was well placed, and he duly responded with a notable 3&2 victory, which was soon replicated by Sam Foster in Match 2 who claimed his win on the notoriously difficult 235 Yard Par 3 finishing hole, Sam’s 5 wood tee shot to within 20 feet of the hole meant 2 putts was good enough to win the match 1up.
Matches 3 and 4 would unfortunately (for Warwickshire) go in Nottinghamshire’s favour with Gary Greenway and Chris Staite losing by 4&3 and 5&4 respectively. Unlucky lads, but both took the opportunity to then cheer on those still battling it out on the golf course, with 3 points needed from the remaining 6 matches to guarantee a Warwickshire win.
First to add to our tally was Elliot Forbes who all afternoon looked in control of his match, and sealed the deal on the 16th Green a 3&2 victor. Shortly after followed news that Joe McIlwraith had also closed out his game, this time on the 15th green a 5&3 winner. Great Results Elliot & Joe (Aka Skinner!).
News got even better a short time later when word filtered back that both Paul Walker and Morgan Jackson in matches 7 and 8 had won their respective matches both by 4&3. That just left the final 2 matches on the golf course with score standing at 9-5, honours were shared with Karl Smith losing narrowly 1down, and Steve Creed taking his match by an impressive 5&4.
Which all meant the ideal start to the season had been achieved by The Warwickshire 2nd Team, recording a 10-5 win over a strong and very competitive Nottingham side, who we wish the best for the rest of the Midland League Season. Our perfect day was complete when we had word that Warwickshire’s 1st team had also got their campaign off to a winning start away at Hollinwell beating the Notts 1st team 8.5 – 6.5.
My thanks to Harborne Golf Club for their great hosting throughout the day, the greens-keepers for their hard work and presenting a golf course in excellent condition. A big thanks to the Warwickshire players who played superbly all day, and showed outstanding team spirit and support throughout. Thanks finally to those who came and supported both teams on a very hot and sticky day, your support and occasional ball-spotting skills were hugely appreciated.
Warwickshire 2nd Team Captain