The 2011 South West Counties Championship (SW Week) is being held in Devon at Saunton GC and gets under way on the Saturday with a practice round for all six counties. The Captain Giles Legg has selected the following squad to represent Dorset over the next six days: David Cook, David Norton, Tom Peacock, Harry Shaw, Parkstone, Tom Leech, Matt Hector, Giles Legg, Dean Barnes, Ben Harvey, Harry Mitchell, Sonny Wilkinson, Ferndown, Jon Welch, Robbie Mabb Weymouth and Daniel Bishop, Christchurch.
The format of the week is each county plays each other Singles am and Foursomes pm so the order of play is below with the SW Individual Strokeplay Championship and EGU County Qualifier being played over 36 holes of Stroke Play on Tuesday. I will endeavour to post the results of each of our matches at the close of play each day to keep you up to date.
This morning saw us up against Cornwall and leading the way was Matt Hector who as always leaves the best to last and when with 5 to play he was four down then turning the match around and gaining a half was a great start. Tom Peacock fought hard but lost 1 down. Dave Cook won 2 &1 but then Dan Bishop found it tough going and lost 4&2, Jon Welch lost 7&5 and Dave Norton lost 2&1. Dean Barnes with a comfortable lead then lost three on the bounce but held his nerve to win 1 up and with Tom Leech having fought from 3 down to 1 missing the green on the last we ended up 5½ - 2½ so we needed to work hard in the afternoon foursomes. Captain Giles Legg led the way with partner Jon Welch and with Jon making amends for his poor morning and some fine play saw them home 2&1. The middle tow pairs of Dave Norton and Robbie Mabb along with Tom Peacock and Dean Barnes both being down at the turn it looking any thing but that we would be going down, Dave Cook and Tom leech were very sound and never in any trouble winning 3&2. Remarkably when Robbie sunk a great 25 foot putt on seventeen to level and then with their opponents not getting out of the rough on the last we had three of the four matches in the bag and 7 points on the board then with Tom holing a good putt to square the match on seventeen the excitement amongst the team grew, Tom then from the rough put dean on the green for two and with the opponents missing the green it was game on but credit to Steve Chapman for a great chip in and then when Dean left the putt short and Tom just missed Cornwall seized the opportunity to win and square the match. Shame but overall a fair result given the mornings performance.
Day two saw us with the late start against the home side Devon and with our number one having to pull out due to injury Jon Welch stood in against Jimmy Mullen and Jon who was disappointed with his singles match yesterday made amends with a fine win 3&1. Steady “eddie” David Cook was second out against young Harrison Greenberry and was never in any trouble to run out with a comfortable 3&2 win. Our young gun Robbie Mabb was out next against an experienced Damion Gee but no problem to Robbie whose putting was outstanding apart from the tenth!! But that spurred him on to a fine 2&1 win which was the same for newcomer Dan Bishop who secured his first SW win with the same score. The back pair of David Norton and Tom Leech both lost by four, Captain Giles was up by three at one stage but was pegged back and it came down to a very good putt on the last to secure a half point so we go into the foursomes 1 point up of our opponents.
Well how good is this today as the team takes full control of the foursomes winning three of the four matches this afternoon to take a resounding win against the home county of Devon. Tom and Dean set the pace with a good 2&1 victory followed by a great 4&3 win by Robbie and Dan so a very good day for both players taking maximum points on the day. The Captain and Jon welsh struggled and went down 3&1 and David Cook along with Tom Leech (mega depressed with his form from the morning round won 5&4 so here’s hoping Tom is a little less harsh on himself after this fine 9 – 5 win taking us into second place behind Wiltshire.
Wiltshire will be representing the SWCGA at this years English County Finals.
Day four saw us up against the team we seem never to be able to beat Somerset, yet again after the singles it may still be the case. Matt Hector back from injury went down 4 & 2 to ex Gloucestershire player Shane Winstone, Harry Shaw battled hard and in a very close match went down by 1 as did Dan Bishop. Robbie Mabb got off to a flier and after the second was two up a great birdie on three by Craig saw it back to one and then Robbie lost control of his putter as on 4 5 and 8 he had putts to win the hole and lost all three. He got it back to one after the sixteenth, but cruel lye in the bunker on the next with no shot put pay to his revival hopes going down 2&1. Both Giles and Jon Welch went down 4&3 but thankfully 3 & 2 wins by Tom over Jamie Clare and Dean playing his last fixture before going on to Cardiff beating Matt Kippen to give us a glimmer of hope in the foursomes. The foursomes continued where the singles left off with Somerset well on top Robbie and Dan went down early by 5&4. Tom and Matt put up some resistance before losing 4&2 Tom and Ben Harvey kept it going all the way and when Ben found the bunker with his second into eighteen the was fear of a complete loss of the foursomes but Tom played a good bunker shot and Ben holed the putt to secure a halve our only points in the afternoon as Giles and Jon went down 2&1. Lets hope our fortunes change as we set out on an early start tomorrow against top of the shop Wiltshire.
Day five and we are up against the Stroke Play champions Wiltshire, the singles got under way with Matt Hector who again lost to many holes in the early part and even though he rallied Ali won 3&1 Jon Welch lost to Josh Loughrey 2 down. With Harry Shaw and Robbie Mabb both losing it was looking bleak Dan Bishop won 3&1 and young gun Harry Mitchell making his first singles appearance saw off Wiltshire’s Captain 4&3. Tom again struggled to play the shots needed and was seen off by Jordan Smith 5&3. Ben Harvey was 5 down with 6 to play against Tom Ruddle but with his experience he held his nerve to bring it up eighteen level and with his opponent having to take three off the tee and Ben making a good putt he turned it round to win 1 up. So we again needed to win the foursomes to turn the match round and Matt along with Harry Shaw led the way again they let to many holes get away early on and even thou they rallied they left to much to do and went down 4&2 with a some what iffy decision on the fifteenth. Giles and Jon were always in control and ran out easy winners 4&3. sadly for us the back two pairs struggled to make any head way with Dan and Harry losing 3&2 and Tom and Ben got seen off 5&4 some consolation perhaps for Ben’s opponent this morning. So not a good day and we meet Gloucestershire who got a mauling at the hands of Devon lets hope we can continue that.
Not really much one can say we were out played and with Cornwall beating Devon the Wooden Spoon is on it's way back to Dorset.
Clifford Burden Trophy Results.
A week that started with so much promise with a good half against Cornwall and a convincing win over Devon ended with Dorset unfortunately retaining the Wooden Spoon from Cornwall on point’s difference.
Very testing conditions in the Strokeplay rounds seemed to affect the swings and confidence of some players and that, allied with a few experienced players having to return to work, meant it was always going to be tough going for the last three matches of the week. The player’s commitment and heart could not be faulted and the team spirit, despite the losses, remained excellent. Also with some of the team leaving it gave the opportunity for a couple of young players to get their first experience of South West Week. We will hopefully reap the benefits of this in the future.
The highlight of the week for Dorset was obviously Dan Bishop’s 4th place in the South West Championship which, along with his good results in the Matchplay, gained him selection for the South West Match against the Midlands in October at Wrag Barn Golf Club. Other notable performances were David Cook’s 4 out of 4 points in the Matchplay, Ben Harvey winning a singles from 5 down with 6 to play and Robbie Mabb developing nicely as a senior player.
Overall I got a lot of enjoyment from Captaining the team, they really do give the County their all and they are great fun to be with. I look forward to next year at Cumberwell when I shall definitely be handing the Spoon to another Captain!
Giles Legg Captain