Sunday 21 May 2017, saw the start of our 2017 Boys County League programme. Unfortunately, as is often the case in May, we were severely hampered by player absences, mainly because of exams, but we managed, just, to find 10 players who could play and were not too disappointed when we saw the quality of those who they played against.
The main loss was, of course, our Captain and No. 1, Tom Cleaton, Tom Charley stepping in as Captain for the day. The match was played on a cold and blustery, but thankfully dry, day on a course which definitely provided advantage to those who knew it, with most shots being blind and with a number of internal out of bounds. The course was, however, in excellent condition and, for the most part, the boys from both sides coped very well with its eccentricities.
As the foursomes got underway, things began to look bleak as all matches bar the boys from Olton, James Bowen and Sam Bissell, looked in deep trouble. The top match did make a spirited comeback but over-clubbing on one short hole put an end to that and a 2&1 defeat resulted. Pairs 2 and 5 were well beaten, but the Olton boys were never threatened, whilst the Handsworth pair, behind for most of the match, played 18th hole to perfection to lead at the right time – a great example of ‘hanging in there’. 2 points to 3.
The afternoon singles followed much the same pattern, with Dan Pearce running away with his match, until a late, but unavailing fight back from his opponent, whilst Cameron Bridger, perhaps our ‘find of the season’ rapidly turned 2 down to a 6 and 4 victory (were there really enough holes for that?!). Everyone else looked in trouble, except James Bowen who seemed comfortable at 2 up. The top two matches went down and match 6 and the last was rapidly going the same way, so now we had to win all four remaining matches. Well, how things can change as our two under 16s, Rhys Wallace and Rocco Luca fought gamely to record 3&2 and 3&1 victories, whilst Lewis Watson won both 17 & 18 to secure a 2 up win. Regretably, whilst this was happening, James’ opponent was staging his own fight back and made a brilliant 4 at 17, which James 3 putted trying to square things up, so 7 to Warwickshire, 8 to Worcestershire.
Disappointing, maybe, but with all the cards stacked against us, a very good effort. Well done lads!
Under 18 Team Manager