BEARS PUT PEARS IN THE SHADE
Olton was the venue for Warwickshire’s 2nd Team match against Worcestershire. With the course bathed in sunshine, the players limbered up trying to make it a hat trick of wins this season and solidify our place at the top of the 2nd Team League.
The Morning foursomes can often set the tone for the day, take a lead into lunch and this can lighten the pressure on the afternoon’s singles. But go in behind and you’re playing catch up, which against quality opposition is never easy.
Looking to lead by example was Olton Member Liam Phipps, and his Partner Chris Laird (The Warwickshire GC), both men having played regular 1st Team Golf for Warwickshire over the past 2 seasons. The match ebbed and flowed, with slender leads being enjoyed by both pairs, but as the match reached the 17th Green, a timely Birdie Putt from Liam saw them take a 1up lead down the 18th. Despite a great 2nd shot to the back edge of the Par 5, Worcestershire couldn’t secure a winning birdie which meant Warwickshire had claimed the 1st match with a fantastic 1up victory. Well done to Chris & Liam.
Match number 2 also featured an Olton Member, this time Joe Macilwraith would team up with Maxstoke Park’s Gary Greenway. Despite playing some good golf the Warwickshire duo found themselves a couple down after 9 holes but battled back to all square playing the final hole. Despite a tight tee shot from Gary which hugged the out of bounds fence, the ball finished in play and a par 5 was recorded, which looked to be enough for half a point, until Worcestershire again 3 putted the tricky 18th Green to hand Warwickshire an unlikely but very welcome point.
The 3rd foursomes match had the familiar and as yet unbeaten partnership of Paul Walker (Maxstoke Park GC) and Morgan Jackson (Stratford upon Avon GC). In a reversal of fortunes these 2 took an early advantage and led 2up lead after 7. Their Worcestershire opponents including Team Captain Russ Ager fought back, winning the next 4 holes! Unfortunately for Paul & Morg, they could not stage a fightback of their own and were beaten 3&1.
The 3rd and final Olton Member in today’s Warwickshire 2nd Team was Kieran Blundell, who partnered Handsworth’s Karl Smith in Match 4 – Karl had recently been crowned Midland Mid-Amateur Champion no less! These 2 looked very comfortable in each other’s company, playing some very good golf and taking a three up lead through 9 holes. Their good play continued into Olton’s back 9 and another point was secured on the 15th Green with a strong 4&3 win.
The final foursomes pair for Warwickshire were Danny Launchbury (Coventry GC) and Rob Copperthwaite (Stratford upon Avon GC), who had teamed up at last month’s Derbyshire Match, that day recording a scintillating 8&7 victory. This kind of result looked like it may be repeated as the pair took a 5 up lead through just 8 holes! More quality foursome’s golf followed and Warwickshire’s ideal morning was completed when Danny & Rob shook hands, 6&5 winners. Well played to both
A 4-1 Warwickshire lead at lunch was a great start, but there was plenty of work still left to be done in the afternoon’s Singles.
Players fed & watered, and both teams were back onto a warm and sunny Olton golf course. Liam Phipps was tasked with leading the singles off, a prospect Liam looked to relish. He took a slender lead into the back 9 holes, but his opponent battled back to square the match after the 17th
, both players hit wayward 2nd
shots, and neither could secure a winning birdie. 2 pars meant the match was halved. A valiant unbeaten effort for the day from Liam.
2nd and 3rd off were Chris Laird and Gary Greenway. Who both rushed to 4 up leads through 11 holes and went on to close out their matches 5&4 and 5&3 respectively, great results Chris & Gaz!
Joe Macilwraith in match 4 had a much closer game against his Worcestershire Opposition. Joe found himself 2 down after the par 4 7th, but hit back with birdies on 8 & 11 to square the match. Joe would ultimately claim a narrow and hard fought 1 up win which meant Warwickshire required just half a point to claim victory.
In Matches 5 and 6 were Kieran Blundell and Karl Smith respectively, both men looking for 100% records for the day. They would not disappoint, Kieran winning impressively 5&4, and Karl beating Worcestershire 2nds Captain Russ Ager 2&1.
With Warwickshire’s win secured and 4 matches left on the golf course, the team and our supporters watched on as Rob Copperthwaite added a further point to our tally with a 3&1 win in match 7, meanwhile Paul Walker, affectionately known as ‘Bink’, battled hard to take his match down the last hole and secured a good half point in match 9.
Match 8 looked to heading Warwickshire’s way, but a costly missed putt on 16 from Danny Launchbury and a wayward tee shot on the last, meant a hard fought but disappointing 1down defeat. Unlucky Danny, but you do have to lose one match a year you know! Match 10 would also go in Worcestershire’s favour, Morgan Jackson by his own admission not having his best golfing day, he succumbed 6&5.
So the match scorecard confirmed an 11-4 win in Warwickshire’s favour, and an impressive performance from every Warwickshire Player, my thanks to them for their great golf and determination throughout the day. Thanks also to Olton Golf club for presenting their course in fantastic condition. The Clubhouse Staff and Professional shop for looking after both teams, and to the supporters who came and cheered on players from both teams, for their much appreciated support.
Warwickshire 2nd Team Captain
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