Warwickshire Seniors maintained their unbeaten 2019 league campaign with victory against a very strong Staffordshire side at Olton Golf Club on Monday 10th June. The visitors, who like Warwickshire had won their opening league match, were perhaps a couple of players short from their intended line up, but still boasted at least a 2 handicapper in five of their six pairings, to match the home side's line up.
With such a poor weather forecast, both Captain's agreed to share the morning foursomes to try to ensure that the fourballs would be completed to prevent any possibility of the match being curtailed or postponed and the result being inconclusive.
With the morning foursomes shared the result would be decided by the six fourball matches and early reports suggested that the match was going the home sides way. However Staffordshire had other ideas and after Warwickshire won the opening match with new pairing Tony Allen and John Hathaway securing a 3 and 2 victory Staffordshire then levelled in Match 2 by the same score against "Birthday Boy" Rob Soen and his partner Dave Mason. The Warwickshire pair were several shots under par when they were beaten on the 16th green. Staffordshire then staged a back nine rally to win Match 3 on the final green and when in Match 4 the host pairing let slip a two hole lead with just two holes to play for an unlikely half, the visitors were in sight of victory. Match 5 saw the biggest win of the day for either side with Dave Calvert and Laurence Greatley winning convincingly by 5 and 4, meaning the whole match was down to the last pair in Match 6. Although George Kennedy and Mark Reynolds were in front for most of their game, a long putt holed for birdie by Staffordshire saw them win the 14th hole and when Warwickshire three-putted the 15th, the match was suddenly all square. The old adage of 2 up with 5 to play never wins, looked like coming true. However after the 16th hole was halved in par 4's, Staffordshire tamely surrendered the 17th with both their players finding the trees on the left from their drives. Warwickshire made their par 4 to take a slender lead to the last hole and were able to see out victory with Staffordshire unable to make the birdie they needed to win the hole against the hosts' par.
The final result was a narrow win for Warwickshire by 10 points to 8.
To Olton Golf Club my thanks to their staff for their hospitality and presentation of their fine course which was warmly regarded by both sets of players and stood up magnificently to the very wet conditions. A special word for Will who catered for everybody during the day and for accommodating us with regard to the moving of meal timings.
To Mark Ashton and his Staffordshire team mates, who always provide such a stern test, the match as always was played in a very competitive but friendly manner, I wish them well for the remainder of the season.
My thanks to Warwickshire Chairman Bob Harrison for his attendance and to County President Graham Barton for his support on the day, it was particularly helpful to know that the whole match result hinged on you and your partner not losing the last hole !!
However special praise must go to the team for their commitment on such a horrible day weather wise in seeing the County through against such strong opponents.
Our next league fixture sees us travel to play Worcestershire in mid July. For the third successive year this match sees us put our unbeaten league record on the line against our friends from Worcester and on each of the previous two occasions we have been beaten. Let's hope we can make it third time lucky at Worcester Golf & Country Club on Friday 12th July. However before that we are again on our travels to play against Northamptonshire at Kingsthorpe Golf Club later this month.