Date: 2nd September 2018
Venue: Harborne Golf Club
Captain: Stuart Bloxham
Our final league game of the season was against Derbyshire at Harborne Golf Club. With the league already won the atmosphere was very relaxed but with the aim of wanting to win all five matches to equal last year’s achievements.
Team: David Atkins, George Gill, Ian Winstanley, Joe Macilwraith, Chris Laird, Mike Pell, Rhys Lawrence, Rob Copperthwaite, Ben Bernamont, Tom Ibbertson
First out was the duo of Tom Ibbertson and Joe Macilwraith. A solid and reliable pairing that continued their a proven success with a great 2&1 win to get the first point on the board.
This was quickly followed by Ian Winstanley & George Gill, who both have natural golfing ability enabling them to take an early lead. They also won 2&1.
Chris Laird and Ben Bernamont got off to a flyer and continued to win hole after hole to produce the biggest win of the morning 6&4. It was great to see Ben back playing 1stteam golf who looked at ease with the situation.
A great start winning the first three matches and it didn’t stop there. Dave Atkins and Rhys Lawrence were also in control of their game and producing some great golf to win 2&1.
With four points out of four and wanting the clean sweep it was Mike Pell and Rob Copperthwaite left on the course. The pair took an early lead and continue to produce great golf to win their match 4&3 and give Warwickshire that amazing 5-0 (the first of my four-year reign)
Foursomes Result: Warwickshire 5 – 0 Derbyshire
This enabled us to have a relaxing lunch but one that we must remain focused as we didn’t want complacency to set in.
Tom Ibbertson lead the team out but was quickly under pressure finding himself 3 down after 9. Rhys Lawrence was also under pressure losing the first four holes and George Gill also found himself three down after nine. So, the news wasn’t great and our five point lead was slowly shrinking.
Rhys was first to finish with a 5&4 defeat. Chris Laird who has a great attitude was two up after nine but his partner went on a birdie run to turn the game around. Chris went on to lose his match 4&2.
It wasn’t looking good. George Gill also finished his match with a 3&2 defeat so we needed something to change. Tom Ibbertson was still playing and not knowing his score he won the 17thhole to completely turn his game around to go one up! His steely character and determination got him over the line with a tremendous 1up victory and a much-needed point to get us back on the train.
It was this point when the game changed. Joe Macilwraith, who has been the star player of year with a great performance and the little assassin produced the biggest singles win of the day with a 5&4 victory. This meant we only needed one more point to win and maintain our 100% record.
This point came from Dave Atkins, the two-time Russian Amateur Champion. Dave won his match in true style winning 4&2. This meant I could relax once again and enjoy the surroundings and celebrations.
The points started to rain in, Ben Bernamont looked in control of his ball all day and played within himself to produce and fantastic 4&3 win. Well played Ben. Along with Ian Winstanley, his first County match after becoming a Dad. Ian has been a phenomenal performer and oozes quality to win his match 4&3. Great to see!
Mike Pell also saw out his match early with a super display of ball striking and a player who will go from strength to strength to win his match 5&4 equalling the biggest win of the afternoon.
Rob Copperthwaite unusually came unstuck, but it was his opponent that played really well. Rob has been a great player for us, his self-belief and determination will put him in good stead for the future.
Singles Result: Warwickshire 6 – 4 Derbyshire
Overall Result: Warwickshire 11 – 4 Derbyshire
This result has topped off a great 4-year campaign that has seen two league titles, a 6’s final, two runner up 6’s qualifiers and 14 wins out of the last 15 matches. But above all I have created some great friends along the way. I can honestly say it has been a true privilege and its down to all the supporters, the board and the players who have been tremendous, showing true grit, determination and hard work to get over the line. It’s been a pleasure to see.
I would like to thank Harborne Golf Club for their hospitality on the day. Derbyshire for playing the match in great spirit. A huge thank you to Pete Clarke who has been with me for the last four years, Graham Barton, President of Warwickshire, who has been a true gent and a pleasure to share all those hours on a Sunday. Graham and Glenda for their support on the day along with Matt Nixon.