May 2016 must go down as a disastrous month for Warwickshire Under 16 golf. With 3 of the seasons 5 planned matches scheduled in the busiest month for GCSEs, difficulties were inevitable. What could not be foreseen was the spate of injuries - 8 - to players who would otherwise have been available, nearly all sustained playing other sports.
Match 1, v Shropshire & Herefordshire started with a late withdrawal through illness and a ‘no-show’ causing complete disruption to foursome pairings as well as a forfeit match. A 5/1 defeat was no surprise. The ‘positive’, a most impressive debut from 13 year old Alex Spencer (Ladbrook Park), who, paired with the steady and experienced Lewis Watson (Handsworth) secured a 6/5 win. The team recovered composure over lunch and despite one match forfeit and a very creditable close loss from a very late substitute, managed a 6 – 6 singles result. Thanks to Dan Carrington, the late sub, currently 17 handicap (but not for long on this showing), for helping out and for doing so well. Thanks also to S & H team and officials for their forbearance and understanding over our difficulties and to the Worfield Golf Club for an excellent course and fine fare.
Match 2 v Staffordshire suffered from the loss of 6 players taking GCSEs the following day and 2 injuries, the second of which was very late on Saturday. We managed to secure the services on Sunday morning of Joe Seaton from Shirley, a boy totally new to County Golf. With so many withdrawals, a 3 – 3 result in the foursomes was more than creditable. Unfortunately, this fine play did not carry over to the singles, where Ralph Hiatt (Leamington) was the only victor in an 11 – 1 thrashing. Joe Seaton almost distinguished himself, only losing 18 to go down by 1 hole. Henley Golf Club provided an excellent course in good condition and excellent catering, both food and service. Thanks Henley.
Match 3, a friendly v Leicestershire and Rutland (10 per side, not 12 as usual). Our luck struck again with a last -minute withdrawal though injury from an already depleted team. With just 30 minutes’ notice, who should fill in again but super-sub Joe Seaton. This time he missed the first hole of his foursome and, not surprisingly, was one of the 4 losing pairs. Rocco Luca (Coventry) with Dan Withington (Shirley) – returning after a 2 month lay-off caused by a broken shoulder – securing our only point. This time the situation was reversed, with a much improved performance in singles and a 5 – 5 result. Our winners were Alex Spencer (Ladbrook), Rhys Wallace (Handsworth), Ethan Trouth (Moor Hall), Theo Barnes (Stratford) and the very deserving Joe Seaton (Shirley) – promotion from late reserve due. Hatchford Brook presented a very stiff test of golf, with very punitive rough. It was in excellent condition and should be used more. The staff were most welcoming and deserve special thanks. The positives to be drawn from this match are that all our points except Joe’s were gained by players still available next year, in fact only 3 players, including Joe are not.
It has been agreed by both S & H and Staffordshire that Under 16 matches in future should be played later in the year to avoid the clash with GCSEs.
Under 16 Team Manager