League Match: Staffordshire v Warwickshire
Date: 6th August 2017
Venue: Walsall Golf Club
Captain: Stuart Bloxham
Championies, Chamionies, ole, ole, ole
Our fourth Midland League game of the season was against our great rivals Staffordshire away at Walsall Golf Club. A win here and with a little from help from Worcestershire against S&H could crown us as 2017 Champions.
Walsall Golf Club once under the umbrella of Warwickshire, is a golf course where you need to plot your way around as with tight fairways and small greens protected well by bunkers, means accuracy would be the key to success.
The team was:
Adam Lumley, Dave Atkins, Matt Cryer, Max Martin, Rhys Lawrence, Rob Copperthwaite, Sam Broadhurst, Steve Creed, Tom Cleaton, Tom Ibbertson
First out was Max Martin and Sam Broadhurst who were under pressure from the start as they were 3 down after 7 holes. But with the nature of these two great players that would make them even more focused - which they did. They turned the game around and won 1up which was a great start to the day.
Next out was Coventry Golf Club pairing of Matthew Cryer and Adam Lumley. A partnership of such great natural talent. They were in complete control throughout, with a tremendous display of putting. Matthew’s 25ft birdie putt on the 17th was more than enough for their opponents and to give us another well-deserved point with a 2&1 victory.
A new pairing of Tom Cleaton and David Atkins were up against a strong Staffordshire duo. The game was tight but it was Staffs who broke the deadlock towards the end of the round and a 2&1 defeat gave Staffs their first point of the day.
The late call up of Stephen Creed went out next with Rob Copperthwaite. A pairing that showed off their short game skills and from inside 80 yards was where this game was won. Some super wedge control and holed putts was a pleasure to see, giving them a 2&1 victory and another well-earned point for Warwickshire.
Last out was the Coventry Hearsall Golf Club duo of Tom Ibbertson and debutant Rhys Lawrence. A nervy start gifted their opponents an early 2 up lead but knowing the skills and capability of Tom and Rhys the 2up lead soon switched round. However the game ebb and flowed and it was a steely 3ft birdie putt on the last by Tom to halve the hole and share the points.
Staffordshire 1.5 – 3.5 Warwickshire
With Warwickshire taking a two point lead going into the singles meant we needed 4.5 points for victory. I certainly didn’t expect what was about to happen….
Max Martin led the team out against Staffs number one Ryan Brooks. Max was 2 down after nine but his determination and excellent ability allowed him to win five holes in a row to quickly turned the game around and went on to win with a comfortable 3&2 victory, giving us a big first point of the afternoon.
Next out was Matthew Cryer who once again showed how you should play this game. Splitting fairways and holing putts. It was a pleasure to see resulting in a 3&2 victory. Matthew is due to become a father in a couple of weeks so I would like to wish him and his family all the best, he is going to need it…
Sam Broadhurst was out number three and was quickly in control of his match with some great ball striking and peppering flags. A 4&3 victory gave Warwickshire another point and a step closer to victory. Sam travels back to the States next week so I would like to wish him well. Thanks and well played.
Dave Atkins was next out and also played some quality golf. Hitting fairways, greens and holing putts is a disaster for your opponent. Dave returned the biggest win of the day with a 6&5 victory. The afternoon was getting better and better. Well played Dave.
With 7.5 points we just need a half for us to win the match and with 6 players still out on the course it looked inevitable and became a question of how many. Always a nice position to be in.
Tom Cleaton was playing against the experienced Louis Birchall but that didn’t faze Tom, whose attitude and approach to the game will put him in good stead for many years. Tom’s was in control of the match and won 2&1. A great win for young Tom and one to build on.
This point gave us the victory we needed but there was still plenty of golf to play.
Stephen Creed set himself a goal three months ago to qualify for the British Seniors Open and did just that. He went on to play a practice round with Bernhard Langer, one of the best players in the world, an experience that will be with him (Steve that is…) for the rest of his life. Hats off to you Steve for achieving your goal.
Steve played a great match against James Bishop who unfortunately for Steve played some great golf who went on to win 3&1. This gave Staffordshire their only point in the singles.
Adam Lumley played some superb golf once again to win 5&4. Rhys Lawrence had a great debut winning his singles match 3&2 and Tom Ibbertson followed with a convincing 5&4 victory.
This left Rob Copperthwaite who completed his day with another point after an excellent performance winning 1up and finishing off a tremendous afternoon of golf.
I don’t think I have seen such a singles performance, it was great to see.
Staffordshire 1 – 9 Warwickshire
Staffordshire 2.5 – 12.5 Warwickshire
News came through the next morning that Worcestershire had beaten Shropshire & Herefordshire meaning that our great win was in fact enough for Warwickshire to win the league with one game to play.
The game was played in great spirit and I would like to wish Martin Crook and his team all the best for the rest of season. I would also like to thank Walsall Golf Club for their hospitality throughout the day and presenting a golf course in excellent condition.
A tremendous season for us and one that I would like to thank every player for your hard work and commitment to County golf. I would also like to thank Nev Gardner, Pete Clarke, Matt Nixon for your commitment and support throughout. A great team effort. I would also like to thank the board for your support and trust in me. Thank you to Bob Harrison and John Stubbings for your support on the day.