The penultimate game of the season was against Nottinghamshire at Wollaton Park Golf Club. Winning our first three matches of the season and with the results all going our way, it meant that if we win then we retain our league trophy. However, if Notts won then they go half a point ahead of us with one game to play. Due to the importance of this game a rallying call from Notts was made. With this in mind we knew that they were going to be full strength and it proved to be the case.
Wollaton Park looked in great condition and with the weather forecast showing high temperatures meant we had to be ready for the heat of the battle.
Team: Max Martin, Liam Phipps, David Atkins, Rhys Lawrence, Sam Broadhurst, Tom Cleaton, Tom Ibbertson, Joe Macilwraith, Rob Copperthwaite, Steve Creed.
First out was the strong pairing of Max Martin and Liam Phipps. Due to Max’s availability meant that this was the first time this season the pair had played together but it never looked like that. They were up against Notts number one pairing of Jordan Boulton and Reece Samson. All four players competed in the English Amateur so the quality was going to be great. It was Notts who took an early lead but that wasnt going to be the final story. With the game nip and took it was the Warwickshire pair who went down the last 1up. A vital point was needed and they did just that winning 2&1.
Next out was Dave Atkins and Rhys Lawrence (Rhys arriving fresh from a great English Amateur Championship after reaching the quarter finals) unfortunately they came unstuck losing their match 2&1.
So with one point each early doors it was game on.
It was the turn of Sam Broadhurst back from the states and Tom Cleaton soon to be enrolling on the other side of the pond next week who showed some quality golf. Taking an early lead they kept going and finished in some style winning 4&3.
Tom Ibbertson and Joe Macilwraith were up next, after Joe had visited Wollaton Hall on route to the golf course again, proved why they were paired together. Whilst it wasn’t plain sailing they turned the heat up winning a of couple key holes on the back nine to take the match to the 17th with a great 2&1 victory.
Last out was the trusted pairing of Steve Creed and Rob Copperthwaite, who’s birthday celebrations had to be shook off quickly. This game was nip and tuck with some excellent holing out. It was the Warwickshire pair who turned the screw again on the back nine to close out their match 3&2.
A great morning display with the result going our way.
Foursomes Result : Nottinghamshire 1 - 4 Warwickshire
Whilst this was a great lead we knew Notts were strong and they would come out fighting and they did just that.
Both Max Martin and Liam Phipps were unable to add to their points tally to lose 1 down and 4&3 respectively.
It was vital that we got something from the next two matches.
Sam Broadhurst continued to play excellent golf showing great ball striking once again to win his match 4&3. A much needed point.
Rhys Lawrence was up against a birdie machine of Sam Claypole who had 7 birdies standing on the 17th tee. But with Rhys hitting it close to get yet another birdie meant the game was going down the last all square. Both paring the last meant they shared the point which was crucial for us.
Dave Atkins was next out and was down for most of his game. He was one down playing 17 but a great tee shot was enough to win the hole and with both players halving the last gave us another excellent half point.
An unfortunate ruling on the 16th hole meant Tom Cleaton who battled superbly well all day, lost his momentum and due to this unfortunately lost the 16th and then the 17th to a birdie. Tom is a very mature player for his age and starts his four year golfing college career in the states next week. I would like to wish Tom all the best and I am convinced he will be a player to watch out for in the next couple of years... it’s been a pleasure to watch him develop over the last few years.
With the score 6-5 to us with 4 players left on the course it was going to the wire.
Joe Macilwraith was also down for most of his match. He was 1 down on the 17th but a great par on a tough par 3 was enough to level the game playing the last. Joe hit a great drive down the middle on 18 and with James Booth going left off the tee gave us the advantage. But a great recovery meant that they would half the last giving us another halve point and getting closer to that magical number 8.
So one and half points from three games would be enough.
It was Steve Creed who played solid golf all day gave us another point with a superb display to close his match out on 16 to win 3&2. This meant that we had at least halved the match but we wanted the win!
With the team gathered round the 17th green and Tom Ibbertson on the tee with his game all square meant we only needed a half. His opponent missed the green right and with Tom undecided on the club and keeping us waiting he hit a great tee shot 20ft past the flag. Alex chipped up to 10ft and Toms putt down hill wasn’t one to race a ball at. He looked all round the hole and took aim, it looked a great pace but the ball seemed to take a age to stop rolling. It kept going and going with the final roll going through the front door and into the cup. It was met with a roar from the players, just like the old days in the West End and Highfield Road. What a relief and a great way to not only win the match but the league!
Tom’s partner went on to birdie the last to half the game but it was the all important half point we needed.
Last out was Rob Copperthwaite who has broad shoulders, hence playing number 10. He is a player with guts and determination and one that you can rely on when needed. Rob was 3 down but turned his match around to have a chance of winning on the last but his partner holed a 10 footer to halve the match. Well played Rob.
Singles: Nottinghamshire 5.5 - 4.5 Warwickshire
Final Score: Nottinghamshire 6.5 - 8.5 Warwickshire
It was a game full or talented players on show, producing some superb golf from both sides. Warwickshire managed to cross the line and win our 13th game out of 14 along with defending our title. That’s a great record and one that we are proud off, especially at this level.
I would like to thank Wollerton Park GC for looking after us and producing a great golf course in excellent condition. Thanks to Andy and his team for producing a great game to watch and be involved in. Also to Graham Barton President of Warwickshire and Pete Clarke for their support and keeping me straight! It’s been a great success story. Thank you.