Warwickshire Golf

End of Season Success!

The Boys 4 Counties is an annual event contested between Gloucestershire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire.  It is played on a round-robin matchplay format.  The 8 boys selected to represent Warwickshire were:

Alex Ford (Captain) – Robin Hood GC

Channon James       - Coventry Hearsall GC

Charlie Lamb            - Coventry Hearsall GC

Liam Scagell             - Ladbrook Park GC

Niall Collins               - Robin Hood GC

Ollie Clark                  - Ladbrook Park GC

Sam Easterbrook     - Wishaw GC

Seb Cave                  - The Belfry GC

The event is normally held in the Easter holidays, but was cancelled in 2020 and postponed in 2021 due to Covid.  The 2021 event was rescheduled for Thursday 28th and Friday 29th October.  It was Gloucestershire’s turn to be the hosts and they selected Lilley Brook GC to hold the matches.  Due to the limited daylight hours, it had been decided to play this year’s matches as 4 foursomes a side.  Unfortunately Simon Parsons (Boys Team Manager) was unable to attend the two days and I was asked to stand in to be the on course “drinks and snacks” provider for the lads, as well as providing support and carrying out other managerial duties.

Match 1 v Staffordshire

All the boys were present by 11.30 as asked and I confirmed the pairings and order of play (Simon and I had previously discussed these).  The course was new for all our boys, so there would be an element of into the unknown as the pairings went round.  At least we know the Staffordshire boys as we had played and beaten them in the league earlier in the year.

First pair were Seb & Charlie.  An uncharacteristic slow start from our lads, combined with some good fortune for the Staffs boys, saw our lead pair go 3 down at the turn.  Our second pairing was Ollie & Chan who were plotting their way round the course nicely to hold a 1 up lead at the turn.  Sam & Liam were next up with Sam hitting a few “lefts” which saw them 2 down at the turn.  Our last pairing of Alex and Niall were playing the Captain’s role and took a slender 1 up lead into the turn.  So after 9 holes the match score was 2-2 but looking more favourable for Staffordshire.

Despite their best efforts, Seb & Charlie couldn’t make inroads into their deficit and some more good fortune for Staffordshire (a slightly thinned pitch to the 16th, just avoided the rough at the back of the green and then rolled back down the slop to within 6 inches of the hole) resulted in a surprise 4&2 loss.  There was better news behind as Ollie & Chan were dormie 4 up, Sam & Liam had turned their game around to be all square with 3 to play and Alex & Niall were carrying on their solid play and had won their game 4&3.  Our focus was therefore on the key third match which saw us win the 16th, halve the scary 17th par 3 in pars (just missing a putt to win the match) and therefore stood 1 up on the 18th tee.  However, news ahead was that Ollie & Chan had been pegged back and halved their match.  A sublime birdie from Sam & Liam saw them win their game 2 up and so we got our campaign off to a 2.5 – 1.5 winning start.

In the other match, Gloucestershire had defeated Worcestershire by 3.5 – 0.5 so our morning match against Gloucestershire would be an absolute key game.

Match 2 v Gloucestershire

After a night of very heavy rain and more heavy showers forecast for the morning, we arrived at the course full with expectation for the day ahead.  Fortunately we were the second match off which meant that we had time for a slightly more leisurely breakfast at the very comfortable hotel next to the course, more importantly we avoided playing in the torrential 10 minute downpour at 8.15!  However, we still caught some showers whilst we were on the course.

I had decided to keep the same pairings, but make a slight tweak to the order swapping our first two pairs around.  This meant that Ollie & Chan would lead us out, Seb & Charlie second, Sam & Liam third and Alex & Niall playing in the crucial final game.  Now that the boys had seen the course, I had high expectations.

Some high quality golf from all players saw things very tight at the turn – 2 down in match 1, 1 up in matches 2 and 4 and all square in match 3.  So the match was very much in the balance.

Despite their best efforts, Ollie & Chan could not peg their opponents back and ran out 3&2 losers – unlucky lads.  Playing number 1 normally means you play the opposition’s strongest players and this was true in this match.

Seb/Charlie and Sam/Liam both won 2 holes after the turn to take command of their games, both running out 3&1 winners.  This meant we couldn’t lose the overall match, but due to the “game difference” after the first round of matches, we had to win the last game to take command of the league.  Alex & Niall were in a fantastic match with never more than one hole in it.  After a pair of fantastic pars on the 17th hole we were still 1 up – meaning we had won the overall match.  Alex & Niall weren’t prepared to take their foot off the gas and Niall’s tee shot came up just short of the 18th green.  A sublime pitch from Alex and a well holed putt from Niall meant we matched the Gloucestershire birdie to win the match 1 up and the overall match 3-1.

In the other match, Worcestershire had beaten Staffordshire by 3-1 and so the destiny of the trophy was still unclear as any of 3 teams could still be the winners.

Match 3 v Worcestershire

After a quick lunch we prepared for the crucial third and final match.  I had decided to keep the same pairings and order for this game and I had told the boys that I wanted a 4-0 victory to round the tournament off in style. Fortunately the storm clouds had parted and we had much better weather for the afternoon.

Things got off to a solid start with some excellent golf being played – the lads clearly benefiting from playing the course a couple of times.  After 9 holes we were 1 up in matches 1 and 2, 1 down in match 3 but Alex/Niall were on fire – 5 up!

The first three matches remained tight and new wasn’t so good in the last match as we had lost a couple of holes.  I reminded the boys of my “4-0” target for them.

Standing on the 16th green I saw Ollie/Chan win 4&2, Seb/Charlie win 3&2 and Alex/Niall also win 3&2.  This meant we had won the tournament but “4-0” was still in the balance as Sam/Liam were going down the 18th.  A solid tee shot from Liam, a quality pitch from Sam saw Liam with a 6 foot putt for the match.  Cometh the hour, cometh the man and Liam knocked it in with confidence to win the match 1 up and deliver the 4-0 I had asked of the boys.

In the other match Gloucestershire beat Staffordshire 3-1.

League Positions

After 2 days of some high quality golf the final league standings were:

                                                            Overall Matches                               Individual Matches

                                  P         W        H         L          Pts                  W        H         L

Warwickshire            3          3          0          0          6                      9          1          2

Gloucestershire        3          2          0          1          4                      6          3          3

Worcestershire         3          1          0          2          2                      3          1          8

Staffordshire             3          0          0          3          0                      2          3          7

So Warwickshire were crowned champions of the Boys 4 Counties in the last representative event of the season.

I have lots of people to thank for this success:

  • The boys themselves as they played their matches in a fantastic spirit and demonstrated terrific Team Warwickshire bonding and ethos, not to mention some quality golf.
  • To the parents for making their sons available and being Mum’s/Dad’s taxi at all our matches.  
  • To the Board of WUGC for their ongoing support of boys golf.
  • To Pete Clarke for arranging our accommodation (and making some last minute alterations as required).
  • To Lilley Brook Golf Club for accommodating the event at the third time of trying – finally defeating the impositions from Covid.  Also their green staff for presenting the course in terrific condition (especially given the weather) and their catering/bar staff for looking after us.
  • To our opposition for playing the matches in a great spirit and to their management teams for being so friendly.  We all have a common goal of getting our boys playing golf, long may that continue.
  • To Dean Newbold (Gloucestershire County Secretary) for running the tournament.
  • To Alex Cave for assisting me with team management/chaperone duties.
  • To President Mark Reynolds and Boys Golf Ambassador Graham Barton for being present and supporting the boys at this and all other matches, throughout the season.
  • To Kent James and Andrew Lamb for also supporting the boys on the days.
  • To Simon Parsons (Boys Team Manager) and Richard Clark (Head of Boys Golf) for all their efforts throughout this difficult year.  A win in the West Midlands league and a win in the Boys 4 Counties is terrific reward for all your hard work.

Here’s hoping next year’s tournament will be able to revert to the usual Easter slot and 8 player singles format.  It will be Warwickshire’s turn to host it, so we look forward to a strong defence of our title.

Neville Gardner
Director and Chairman TMPD

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