Sunday 7th July
Coxmoor Golf Club
Chris Laird – The Warwickshire
Rhys Wallace – Handsworth
Tommy Lewis – Nuneaton
Ben Bernamont – The Warwickshire
Ben Goodison – Coventry
Cameron Bridger – Marson Lakes
Dan Launchbury – Coventry
Paul Walker – Maxstoke Park
Nev Gardner – Stoneleigh
Chris Brown – Copsewood Grange
The third league match of our 2019 campaign would see the Warwickshire 2ndteam travel to Coxmoor Golf Club to take on Nottinghamshire. Last minute injury and illness (Saturday Evening and Sunday morning) meant a very late scramble to find reserve players who could get all the way to Coxmoor at short notice. Chris Staite, we hope you are all okay and the team sends best wishes.
Observant readers will notice the unfortunate requirement of me having to tee it up for the team today, my first start since 2015. This will lead to a less detailed report than normal as I had to do some hard work for a change rather than just spectating.
Coxmoor, for anyone not fortunate enough to have played it is a fantastic golf course set in the wonderful surroundings. It’s a must play if you are ever offered the chance. It looked in fantastic condition and the sun was shining, we had just enough players and so after a quick warm up on the range we were ready to go.
In match 1 was Ben Goodison and Dan Launchbury, this would be a close match but the Notts pairing would take this one by a 2 & 1 margin.
Match 2 was Cam Bridger and Rhys Wallace. They would miss a few too many fairways and despite battling hard to stay in the match they would lose out 4 & 2.
Third out was Chris Laird and Ben Bernamont and despite taking an early lead they would soon be pegged back and would slowly see the game drift away with some solid play from their Notts opponents – a 3 & 2 defeat the final score line.
The fourth match had Paul Walker and Tommy Lewis and they would get off to a slow start and be behind most the way round. A brief fightback around the turn would get the match closer but the Notts pairing were not for catching and would close this one out 3 & 1
It was a blistering start for Nottinghamshire taking the first four points on offer.
Match 5 saw Nev Gardner and I head into battle, I’ve played a lot of golf with Nev over the many years I’ve known him and so figured he would be least likely to shout at me. Some steady play would see us reach the turn just 1 down and things began to go our way with birdies on 12 and 14 to take a slender 1up advantage. Nev then holed a great 25 foot birdie attempt on 16 to take us dormie 2 up. He then followed this with a well-struck long iron to the heart of the 17thwhere a two putt would be enough for us to close out a 2 & 1 win for Warwickshire to offer the team some hope heading into the singles.
It was going to be an uphill struggle and with early points needed we put all the big guns to the top of the order in the off chance we could haul ourselves back into this match. We needed 7 points from the 10 available.
Dan Launchbury led out the singles and he has been playing some very nice golf of late. Dan would be 3 up at the turn but see this lead dwindle over the back 9 to be all square playing the last.
The last at Coxmoor is a very long Par 4 at approximately 480 yards. Dan would hit a wonderful drive and just a 7 iron to the centre of the green. The par 4 enough to clinch his match by a single hole and a crucial point for Warwickshire.
Ben Bernamont was out at 2 and he played some good golf to control this match right from the off. He would never lose this early lead and would close out a fine 4 & 3 victory.
Chris Laird was playing at 3 and took an early lead with a very good start to his round. More birdies before the start of the back nine would see Chris pull away and a cosy 6 & 4 victory was the reward.
Ben Goodison at 4 was getting ahead in a hurry and would be 5 up after just 6 holes. Under par for his match, 8 & 6 was the wide margin of victory in this one.
Warwickshire had taken the first 4 matches and the lead. It was very much all to play for once again.
Paul Walker was playing at number 5, his game would be close at the turn but some quality birdies on the back nine would see Paul close out a great 3 & 2 victory.
Cameron Bridger was in a ding dong battle with his Notts opponent, Cameron would be 1 down playing the Par 5 16thbut would finish like a pro and win 16, 17 and 18 to turn his match around and into a 2up victory.
Rhys Wallace was in a similar battle to Cam, very tight all the way around with Rhys generally holding a small lead most the round. The youngsters have no fear and a rock solid finish to the round would result in a 2 & 1 win and amazingly mean the first 7 singles matches had gone the way of Warwickshire to turn the fixture on its head from the morning and complete the most remarkable comeback.
Tommy Lewis had a bad day in the office, openly admitting to missing a few too many fairways and the punishing rough at Coxmoor meant no easy escapes. He would battle on gamely but would succumb to a 5 & 3 loss.
I had the pleasure of playing in match 9 against Isaac Walker for Notts. I stole an early lead but was then overpowered by three successive birdies to fall 2 down at the turn. A birdie on 14 would see me get the match back to all square but a birdie from Isaac on 16 would see Notts regain the one hole lead. A half on 17 meant it went down the last but a solid up and down from just off the 18thgreen for Isaac and Notts would give them this one by a single hole margin.
Nev Gardner in the last game missed a few putts early in the round and would fall behind early on. More good play from his Notts opponent would mean a 7 & 6 loss for Nev.
So the singles had finished 7 – 3 to Warwickshire and this meant a win for us by the narrowest of margins 8 – 7.
I cannot thank the team enough for their efforts this afternoon, my only regret was I wasn’t able to watch it unfold as per usual and report more thoroughly on what was a sublime comeback against a strong Notts team. Lesser sides would have thrown in the towel or crumbled. Your belief and will to win is inspiring.
A huge thank you to Malcolm Brown (Nottinghamshire 2nds Captain) and the Nottinghamshire team and supporters for an extremely warm welcome and a match played in the right spirit, even when it got exceptionally close. Thanks must also go to the members of Coxmoor Golf club who allowed the use of the course for this match to take place today. As I suggested earlier if you haven’t had the chance to play here yet it’s absolutely worth a visit.
A personal thanks to Mark Reynolds and Bob Wallace who as acting on-course captains for the day steered the guy’s to a wonderful comeback and kept the refreshments readily available.
Our next match is against Derbyshire at Stonebridge in August and if we can manage to win that, it will set up a title decider against Worcestershire at Halesowen in September. So all very much still to play for.
On a final personal note, today was the most nervous I’ve been on a golf course for many years. Most people reading this will have represented their clubs or played in club team competitions but playing for your own county takes this to another level. I know in some schools of thought these days it has been suggested county golf is unnecessary in player development and it doesn’t add anything that can’t be experienced easily elsewhere.
I can only think these people haven’t really experienced county team golf. Comebacks like today stick with you forever.