The 2020 Warwickshire Cup Final was at long last played at The Warwickshire Golf Club on Saturday 6th November 2021. The event which had been outstanding since March 2020 due to Covid 19, saw Olton Golf Club record their second win in the competition at the expense of Harborne Golf Club by two matches to one. The match consists of three foursomes matches played off scratch with the winning team being the first to two points.
The matches set off on a cool but dry morning and whilst the sun made an appearance during the day the players were most grateful that any wet weather stayed away. The course was very soft and receptive for shots to the green but putting was not straightforward on the large surfaces. For most of the early holes the Olton players were in charge and by the start of the back nine holes they were more than one hole ahead in all three matches. The opening match saw Sam Easterbrook and Mike Pell representing Olton play against Lee Podmore and Adam Humphreys from Harborne. The Olton pair who were two holes up at the turn, found themselves one down after the fourteenth hole and after winning the sixteenth hole to square the match, and with the then halving of the seventeenth hole, the game went to the last tee all square. The eighteenth hole on the Earls course is a par 5 and Olton had a putt of some ten feet for a birdie four however Adam holed his putt from the front edge of the green, a putt of some twenty feet, for an eagle three and a one hole win. One match to Harborne.
Match three saw Rob Tovey, the Olton Captain, and his partner Luke Allen up against Nick Clifford and Ian Conway for Harborne. The match followed a similar pattern to the opening game in that Olton were two up at the turn. However this time Harborne were unable to stage a recovery over the back nine and ultimately lost the match four and two.
One match each.
The second match saw Olton's Ryan Hinsley, runner up in last week's Champion of Champions event at The Forest of Arden and his partner Tom Shiels playing against the Harborne pair of Captain Steven Keay and Will Turner. Despite a three hole lead after twelve holes the Olton pair were unable to prevent a Harborne fightback and the match arrived at the eighteenth hole all square. Both pairs had the opportunity to win the hole and match with a birdie four however neither of their putts was successful and the match went into sudden death extra holes. With now quite a sizeable crowd made up of the players from the completed matches, supporters from both teams and their caddies all following the outstanding match it became clear that one shot either way could decide the outcome of the whole event. The first hole is a daunting par four of some four hundred and twenty yards and after two shots from both teams Harborne's golf ball was still not on the green. A chip shot was played to some ten feet away, but with Olton already on the green in two the latter looked favourites to win. However their first putt came up a couple of feet short of the hole and after the Harborne putt for their par four was missed, Olton had their par putt to win. Most of us who have played golf through the winter months know that no putt is ever easy this time of year when the greens are soft and the ball very often has a mind of it's own. That was the case here as the Olton ball dived to the right and the match went on to the twentieth hole. The next hole is a par three and both teams came up short on the hole which plays nearly two hundred yards. Both chip shots left the putters work to do to make their par three and when both were missed the match went on to the twenty first hole at the Warwickshire, a par four of three hundred and seventy six yards. Both teams found the fairway with their tee shots and played their approach shots to the green. Olton played first and came up just short of the putting surface while Harborne found the green in two. The first putt from Olton was a marvellous effort and finished a couple of feet from the hole. Harborne's first putt came up short and left them to putt again before Olton. The putt from Harborne was missed and this left Olton's Tom a chance to win. This time he holed the putt for a par four and Olton had their prize by two matches to one.
Congratulations to Olton. Their victory gives them a second win after their triumph in 2017. Commiserations to Harborne.
My thanks to Patrick Ferguson, General Manager at The Warwickshire for presenting the trophy and for their continued support of the competition and also to the bar and catering staff for looking after everyone on the day.
Thanks also to the caddies and supporters of both teams who helped to make the day so enjoyable.