Chris Laird THE WARWCKSHIRE
Paul Walker MAXTOKE PARK
Cameron Bridger MAXSTOKE PARK
Gary Skipp ROBIN HOOD
Niall Collins ROBIN HOOD
Jacob Parsons COVENTRY FINHAM
Rob Tovey OLTON
Ryan Hinsley OLTON
Lewis Watson HANDSWORTH
Rhys Wallace HANDSWORTH
Second fixture of the season against a strong Derbyshire team at the brilliant Keddleston Park Golf Club. Having looked at the weather forecast it looked like it was going to be a unsettled day with possible delays. Luckily someone was shining down on us.
Onto the foursomes which was led by Paul and Chris. Playing against two formidable Derbs players one being what appeared to a huge hitter the guys played near perfect golf to be a couple under through 7. Having hit a great shot to within 10ft on 7 a narrowly missed birdie meant the hole was halved in 3 and the bears two up. A bogey on 12 meant the bears went back to 1 up. A close match to the very end, pars not enough to win holes with both pairs playing solid tee to green golf. The lads ground out a brilliant 1 up victory for the first bears point.
Next out was the solid partnership of Cameron and Jacob, the two have forged a great chemistry as a pairs partnership. A fast start from the Bears meant us being 2 up through 6 holes. Having lost the tough 7 par the a half on 8 meant the bear were 1 up going to the 9th tee. A strong Derbs comeback with some scintillating short game on display and the Bears were 2 down through 12. Unable to reel the Derby pair back in meant a 3&2 loss for the Bears and I had myself a new faded cap. Oh yes do not think I had forgotten and the faded bears cap was handed over after Jacobs first defeat.
The pairs chemistry continued with Handsworth pairing of Rhys and Lewis. The bears were 2 down through 6, a slightly pulled and long tee shot from Lewis left a difficult chip for Rhys. Unable to get up and down the pair were now 3 down. Onto the 8th tee, after a slightly pushed tee shot Rhys' ball hit a tree 80 yards off the tee. With their opponents in the middle of the fairway it looked like a loss. But after grinding out an amazing par that Seve would be proud of, the boys managed a brilliant half. This gutsy display continued when faced with a tough chip on the 11th Rhys hit a magnificent chip and Lewis rolled the putt in reducing the score to 2 dwn. Unfortunately the pair ran out of holes and succumbed to a 4&2 loss.
The Robin Hood pair of Niall and Gary up next, with Niall making his debut in mens golf. After a few scrappy shots on the second hole the Bears were just off the green in 3, with the Derby pair in a similar position in 2. After the Derby pair hit their chip to around 25ft, Gary chipped up to around 9ft. Missing their par attempt Niall held is nerve to roll the putt in for an unlikely half. A great iron shot into 7 by Gary and the bears were 2up through 7 holes. This was the signal for the pair to put their foot on the gas ending up 6 up through 12 holes. A 7&5 victory for the bears making the score 2-2. Obviously Gary doesn’t like the last 4 holes given his recent record, either that or he was thirsty for a carling.
The final pairing was the boys from Olton, Ryan and Rob. A solid start with some text book foursomes golf meant the Bears were two up on the 6th tee. With the Bears pin high around 20ft away and the Derby pair in a different postcode to the flag pin high. It looked as though with a two putt the Bears would win the hole. After draining a 60ft putt across the green down a ridge Rob was unable to convert his 25ft putt meaning Derby had an unlikely win. This did not deter the Olton boys who carried on in the same vein and end up 3 up through 13 holes. The pair managed to close the match out with a superb 3&2 victory.
For once the Bears went into the afternoon singles with a slender lead.
With the thunder and lightening holding off we headed into the singles.
Off first as ever (due to him running round the course) was Chris. Always a difficult match play opponent and even hard for me to catch up with, Chris was all square through 9. With two great shots to get near the front edge on the par 5 12th, Chris nearly made birdie but the par would be enough to take him 1up. A par on the 13th meant another half and Chris was able close the match our 3&2. Just the fast start we needed. Well done Lairdy!!
Next up was Paul, or the missile, as his opponent called him after the game. Paul played his usual boring golf, when I say boring I mean fairways, greens and the odd birdie thrown in. Playing his ‘boring’ golf the missile went 2 up through 10 holes. A two putt par on the 10th was enough for a 3 up lead. Giving his opponent no rest bite he carried on in this fashion and cantered to a 5&4 victory. The Missile is born!!!!!!
Out number 3 was Cam, who before he went out ensured me he was confident of getting a point. He wasn’t wrong. Never letting the worsening conditions get the better of him Cam played regulation golf turning through 9 2up. The next few holes would be close with nothing given between the pair the Bears 2 up through 12. A birdie on the 13th and the Bears go 3 up, not giving his opponent an inch Cam close the match out 4&3. I couldn’t have asked for a better start.
Having lost his faded (lucky) hat in the morning Jacob tried to convince me to allow him to have it back should he win 10&8. The answer was still no and he was out at number 4. A nice start for the first 5 holes and Jacob was 1 up through 5. With his opponent able to take advantage around and on the green Jacob went 2 down through 12. Even safe in the knowledge this would be his lucky hats last swan song he was unable to turn the match around and lost narrowly 2&1. Unlucky mate but Nev will provide you with your replacement hat soon.
The first of the Robin Hood players and next at number 5 was Gary. Having played faultless golf in his county career Gary would come up against a ex pro, member of Keddleston who plays off +4. This was always going to be a tight match. A tight match meant the Bears were all square through 5 holes and all square through 11. With Gary playing brilliant regulation golf and his opponent using course knowledge around the greens, the match standard was supremely high. Both players slightly pulled their drive down the 12th meaning both were blocked out by a tree. In true Robin Hood style Gary hit a great shot under the tree which rolled up to around 15ft. Once again the Derby player scrambled a par from the back of the green. Only for Gary to roll the it in for a birdie. Never more than 1 hole in this one, both players birdied 17 and down the last it went. Unable to win the last, a 1down loss for the bears.
Out at 6 on his debut was Niall, a solid start through the first 5 holes and the bears are 2up. Solid golf from both players and Niall was 2 up through 12, he gave one hole away and was 1up the par 3 16th. Niall hit the far extreme left of the green leaving himself a near impossible 2 putt from 80-90ft his opponent missed the green. I was watching from the tee and observed Niall drain the 80-90ft putt across the green to the dismay of his opponent. 2 up with 2 to play, a birdie from the Derby player and Niall was 1up on the last. His opponent pulled his drive left leaving Niall to close the match out with a 2up victory. What a great debut, well done Niall.
The first of the two Handsworth player Rhys was up next at 7. Having been one up through 4 and all square through 5 it was clear this match was destined to go deep. Tight for the next few holes and the bears were 1up through 11, a great sand save on 15 and Rhys would take a 1up lead into the last 3 holes. The match would end up going down the last hole with Rhys 1up, a great 2 iron off the tee left a wedge into the challenging last hole, the wedge shot went to 12ft and Rhys rolled the putt in for a great birdie and a two up victory.
Lewis was out at number 8. This would be the 3rd of 4 matches to reach the 18th. After starting like a train being 2 up through 4, the Derby player dragged his way back into the game with the match all square through 10. From this point there was little given away by either player and the match remained tight for the rest of the back 9. Onto the last hole 1down Lewis hit a lovely drive a shot to the heart of the green and two putt was all we needed to get a brilliant half. Well done Lewis every half point counts as we found out pre lock down.
Another player who doesn’t like the last 5 holes out at number 9 was Rob. He would carry on in the same vein with this match. After a perfect 9 holes and being -4 Rob was 6 up through 9. Knowing how solid he is I knew I could count on him to close the match out while I was watching the matches finishing on 18. Rob closed match out with an amazing 7&5 victory. What more can be said another great performance and maybe if you go beyond 15 holes I can write more about the match LOL.
In at the Gardner position was Ryan, seemingly coasting through 8 holes at 3 up. Both came to the tricky 9th green. Due to the position of the flag if you was on the wrong side it was a tough two putt. Both players after regulation approaches halved the hole in 5’s. The back 9 was tight and the match inevitably went to the last. Ryan stood on the last in the pouring rain 1down both players hit great drives down the middle, the Derby player was first hitting the front edge and Ryan hit a great approach pin high 25ft away. The Derby player went on to 3 putt and a par was enough for a half. This could be vital at the end of the League season.
Final score was Bears 10 Derby 5.
I have to say the course was fantastic, not only that but every match was played in amazing spirit whilst still being competitive. The moral and team work I am seeing this year from our team is some of the best I have seen. I want to thank you all for your team work, commitment and playing ability for the first two games. We have been a credit to Warwickshire.
As always we are lucky to be supported by Neville Gardner and Graham Barton. Thanks both its always brilliant to see you.
Onwards to the next game Go Bears
2nd Team Captain