Date: 26th March 2017
Venue: Cosby Golf Club
Captain: Stuart Bloxham
Bears Fight Back
Our first friendly of 2017 was against Leicestershire & Rutland at Cosby Golf Club.
Cosby Golf Club was presented in fantastic condition with very fast greens for the time of year and a golf course that you need to plot your way around, with lots of tree lined fairways to catch out slightly missed drives.
Chris Laird, Joe Macilwraith, Liam Phipps, Louie Pett, Matt Cryer, Max Martin, Rob Copperthwaite, Stuart Bloxham, Tom Cleaton, Ryan James
Max Martin and Liam Phipps lead the team out. This was only the second time they had played together with the first being our last game in the England County Finals were we beat Cornwall at Sandwell Park last October.
They played some excellent golf winning 5&4 and keeping their 100% record. This could be a great 2017 partnership.
Unfortunately this would be our only point in the morning foursomes with Chris Laird & Rob Copperthwaite and Matt Cryer & Stuart Bloxham both losing 3&1. Louie Pett & Tom Cleaton losing 2&1 in low scoring match and finally Joe Macilwraith & Ryan James losing 5&4.
This meant we had it all to do in the afternoon singles.
Leicestershire & Rutland 4 – 1 Warwickshire
With some careful structure to the order of play in the afternoon it was time for the Bears to show some Warwickshire grit and team spirit and we did just that.
To lead the team out was Liam Phipps who again played tremendously well and beat local member Coby Cartwright 5&3. Another great performance.
This was following by a hard-fought and well-earned half point by the gritty Chris Laird which was equally matched by Rob Copperthwaite who went out number four.
Max Martin continued his success and gained 2 excellent points on the day with some fantastic ball striking and short game wizardry to win 3&2.
Gaining 3 points from the first 4 put us back in this match.
Next out was Matt Cryer and Louie Pett who both played well to win their matches 3&2 and 2up respectively.
Unfortunately Stuart Bloxham could not keep the run going losing his match but Tom Cleaton making his first of many first team appearances, more than made up for it with a great victory against the big hitting Harry Sullivan 1up. Well played Tom - a great debut.
With only two matches on the course the game had swung with Warwickshire needing a point to win the match.
Joe Macilwraith out number 10 had a great match with a 10 under betterball score after 11 holes and still only being all square, shows the level of this match. Unfortunately the result went in L&R’s favour with a 3&2 victory. A great effort from Joe.
This meant that the final match result was all on the last game out on the course. Ryan James was 1 up going down 17 but a pushed tee shot left the door open for L&R’s Liam Plant which he duly took.
They both hit the fairway on the short but dangerous par 4 18th hole and their approach left them both with 30ft putts. It was Ryan who went first leaving it 4ft short (one of those!) but his playing partner left it 5ft short up the hill. A great putt from Liam left the whole match result on Ryan’s shoulders and with both sets of players and supporters surrounding the 18th green meant that Ryan had nowhere to hide. He keep his composure and holed the put convincingly well. Not a bad way to start your first team debut!
It was a great fight back from us, with plenty of positives to take out of this result and I was proud of every player who represented Team Warwickshire.
Leicestershire & Rutland 3.5 – 6.5 Warwickshire
Leicestershire & Rutland 7.5 – 7.5 Warwickshire
I would like to wish Martin and his team all the best for the season. I would also like to thank Cosby Golf Club for their hospitality throughout the day and presenting a golf course in excellent condition.
Finally thanks to Bob Harrison, President of Warwickshire and Pete Clarke for their support on the day.