2nd TEAM DOMINANT IN DERBYSHIRE
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Warwickshire's 2nd Team were looking to follow their fantastic display in May against Notts, with a similar strong performance away to Derbyshire, a team not to be taken lightly as the 2nds found out in the same fixture 2 years ago - losing that match 11-4!
The selected team made the journey to Chesterfield GC the day before the match to hone their skills on a short but tricky layout. Being able to acquaint ourselves with the small, firm but relatively slow greens, could be vital during Sunday's matches. Practice finished, and team checked into their local hotel, we all enjoyed a team dinner & dessert (a highlight being an unnamed player remarking the ice cream was cold!) and a variety of soft drinks before retiring for the early start to come.
So to Sunday's match. Leading the Warwickshire team off were now familiar pairing of Sam Foster (Coventry Hearsall) and Gary Greenway (Maxstoke Park), looking to continue their unbeaten record together for Warwickshire. The pair made an inauspicious start and were 2 down through 3 holes but bounced back to be 1up through 9. More good golf saw them pull further ahead into the back 9, getting Team Warwickshire off to the ideal start, a 5&4 victory. Great playing Sam & Gaz!
The 2nd foursomes pair had Coventry Hearsall's Mark Davies partnering The Warwickshire's Chris Laird. Playing together for the 1st time, the duo gelled nicely and took an early advantage, leading 3up through 9 holes. Cue a Derbyshire fight back which meant the match made it to the 18th all square! Both teams missed the par 5 fairway and with Derbyshire looking like recording at least a par 5, Mark faced an unenviable 35 yard bunker 3rd shot, front left of the green, with the hole cut just above a large slope and bushes behind the green waiting if he caught the shot too cleanly. However Mark had no thoughts of these pitfalls and showed a touch of class you'd expect from an ex-professional, splashing out to around 4 feet, which partner Chris only too gladly knocked in. Match won 1up! A great gutsy win from both players.
Match 3 saw another now familiar partnership, Stratford upon Avon's Morgan Jackson and Maxstoke's Paul Walker. But another slow start meant they were also 2 down through 3 holes. once more the pair turned it round, claiming the next 4 holes! And would take a slender 1 up lead into the back 9. 'Morg & Bink' always looked in control of the match from there in, and claimed another point for Warwickshire, 3&2.
Match 4 had Danny Launchbury (Coventry GC) team up with Stratford upon Avon's Rob Copperthwaite, another pair who despite not playing foursomes golf together before, seemed to gel immediately. Although they would lose the opening hole, they would then do something I suspect never previously done in County golf before, winning the next 8 holes! Making the turn with an incredible 7up lead. From there a lengthy lunch looked inevitable, and would prove to be the case as Rob & Danny closed out the match 8&7. Great playing both of you.
5th to tee off was Ben Goodison (Coventry GC) and County Stalwart Neville Gardner (Stoneleigh Deer Park), a duo who played together recently in a pre-season friendly, they unfortunately lost that day so had a score to settle. If they could, it would mean an almost unprecedented 5-0 lead going into the afternoon singles. Ben & Nev were ahead early but lost holes 7, 8 and 9 to trail 2 down through 9. Then followed an impressive fight back which saw the Pair eventually win 2&1 and Warwickshire's perfect morning was complete. 5-0 at lunch.
With lunch under the players belts, we knew just 3 points were required to guarantee a match win, but as always with County Golf, if you can win big - win big! As in the event of a tie at season's end, the league winner is decided by number of points won.
The afternoon Singles were again dominated by the Warwickshire Team with wins from Chris Laird in match 1 (6&4), shortly Followed by Danny Launchbury in match 6 (5&3), and Mark Davies in match 4 (2&1) securing the win for Warwickshire. Matches 2 and 3 would go in Derbyshire's favour with Gary Greenway and Sam Foster unable to replicate their morning's good play, succumbing 3&2 and 5&3 respectively. With the score 8-2 in our favour, amazingly Warwickshire then claimed the remaining 5 games to close out a emphatic 13-2 victory! Rob Copperthwaite 2&1, Paul Walker 4&3, Morgan Jackson 3&1, Ben Goodison 5&4, Nev Gardner 1up. Well done to all of you on great wins.
My thanks to Derbyshire Team Captain Aidie, whose team were fantastic all day, and were magnanimous in defeat. To Chesterfield Golf Club for the presentation of the golf course, as well as their bar and catering staff for their hospitality. To the support the Team received, most notably from Graham and Glenda Hayes who supported the teams, as well as myself fantastically all day.
Team spirit I'm proud to say is something Warwickshire never lack, and this spirit was in abundance all weekend - hardly surprising I know, looking at the scoreboard! Matches won't always go in our favour like Sunday did, but this camaraderie, confidence and self-belief will I'm sure, stand us in good stead.
Next on the 2nds fixture list is our final home game of the season, Hosting Worcestershire at Olton Golf Club on 3rd of July
Warwickshire 2nd Team Captain
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