The 2013 South West Counties Championship (SW Week) is being held here in Dorset at Dudsbury GC and gets under way on the Saturday with a practice round for all six counties. The Captain David Cook has selected the following squad to represent Dorset over the next six days: Dean Barnes, Tom Peacock Parkstone, Tom Leech, Harry Mitchell, Giles Legg, Fraser Dawson Ferndown, Jon Welch, Robbie Mabb, Tom Robson Weymouth Ben Churchill Dudsbury and Aaron Crabbe Yeovil.
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 is played over 36 holes of Stroke Play on the 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.
Day one saw us up against Gloucestershire and after the extensive training throughout the winter and spring the players were all ready for the week and the task of trying to win the match play shield which has eluded us for many years. It was good to see us out of the traps quickly with Jon two up after two and by the ninth was cruising 5 up he then saw off his opponent on the thirteenth. Ben Churchill going two up after two but Laurie made a fight of it but Ben on home soil was to good running out a 5&4 win. David Cook this year’s Captain always seemed to be up against it with his opponent seeming to keep control and eventually winning 3&2. Giles was cruising and in fine form, he led from the start and was never really troubled winning 5&4. The next saw young Robbie up against Andy Rudge who is a seasoned player and this was a tight match with Andy always just having his nose in front to win 3&2. Nick Day from Gloucestershire another of the SW Week stalwarts was also in full control against Tom Peacock winning 4&3 Tom Robson went the longest finally closing out a fine win on the seventeenth 3&1 along with a fine win for our ever green Tom Leech who was in full control from start to finish coming out on top with a fine 6&5 win. So it was 5-3 to Dorset in the morning as we move to the afternoon foursomes. David Cook and Giles Legg led the way and as much as they tried it was tough going and they eventually lost 3&1. Jon welch and Robbie Mabb seemed in the early holes to be in control and held the lead for some time but their opponents dug deep and suddenly it was all square coming up the last but Jon chipped close whilst his opponent let it go long and when they missed the one coming back it was left to Robbie to tap in and give the team hope of an overall win. The last match finished in defeat with Tom leech and Dean Barnes always down against a very experienced Gloucestershire pair. So we needed to get a half a point out of the “Tom Tom” pairing and when they fought back from three down to all square at the eleventh the signs were looking good. It all came down to the last and with our boys one down and just off the green for two and their opponents with what seemed an impossible chip back to the green there was a slight flicker of hope but all Credit to Tom Workman who played a stunning chip back and left Nick an easy one for par and with Tom Peacocks putt just slipping right it was another defeat and the match was gone by the odd point. A tale of two halves a great morning’s golf and a disappointing afternoon. The players now need to put this behind them and rise to tomorrows challenge against Devon.
The other matches were Wiltshire v Devon and Somerset v Cornwall
So to Devon, first out was Jon against Devon’s County Champion Ryan Pope and in a tight match Jon just got the better with a one hole win. Ben found it tough going against Harrison going down 5&4 as did Tom Peacock who also lost 3&2 to david Blick. Giles continued his singles winning form with a fine last hole win over England player Jimmy Mullen. Harry Mitchell found his form and regained his winning ways when he held is nerve on the last to secure a one hole victory. Sadly for Dorset the last three matches all went against us as Robbie lost 3&2, Dean 2&1 and Tom Leech came up the last all square and with both players hitting in fine seconds to the green it was Sam who holed first for a birdie and unfortunately for Tom his just slipped past thus going down by one. So we were 5-3 down at it was still all to play for in the Foursomes and what a start we had with an untried pair of Ben and Harry playing Ryan and Harrison who were given a real lesson as Ben and Harry won 7&6. Sadly for Dorset that was the only point we could muster in a disappointing afternoon seeing us go down 9½ - 3½ and a mountain to climb when we return to the Matches on Wednesday. The players remain positive as they go into tomorrow’s stroke Play Championship
We move to the stroke Play Championship and this years County qualifier the Dorset six who will try to win a place at this years final are: David Cook, Giles Legg, Jon Welch, Tom Peacock, Harry Mitchell and Ben Churchill.
Congratulations to Devon who qualify for this years competition 5 clear of Gloucestershire.
Up against our old adversaries Cornwall and with us still looking for our first win the stakes were high. Jon Welch got us under way against Tom Fox and lost 3&2, he was followed by Aaron making his debut which was a tight with Joe Cruse just getting the better. Robbie Mabb made up for his lack of form with a great victory over Conor Wilson 6&5. Giles lost his first single match to Matt Richards by one hole. The final four made it a good morning with all running out good wins to put us 5 – 3 up after the morning session.
But the Foursomes seem to be crucifying us at the moment as we again went down in three of the four matches with just Jon and Robbie managing to scrape a halve on the last when a 60 footer was canned by Robbie to win the hole and square the match. We now play Wiltshire tomorrow still looking for our first win on home soil.
So with the disappointment of yesterday’s defeat firmly put behind them the team set about the match against leaders Wiltshire and again it was another stunning morning’s golf with some great match play. Jon welch led the way and it was a real nip and tuck match with the seasoned campaigner Ali James which went against Dorset with Ali winning 2&1. Tom Peacock needed a win and was drawn against Ben Loughery which must have inspired Tom as he played some great golf and was always in control winning 2&1. The Captain cleared his mind and played some fine golf a birdie on the fifteenth made it dormey and he closed it out on the next for a 4&2 win. Giles lost his second singles match against young gun Ben Amor 5&4 but this was soon put right as Robbie again found his touch winning 6&5 against Yoshio Takeuchi. Harry Mitchell continued the winning way with a two hole win as did Ben Churchill 4&2 and with Tom Robson seeing off Robbie Busher 4&3 it means we take a 6-2 lead into the afternoon foursomes lets hope we can take the one match needed to secure the win. The afternoon’s golf was just as sweet as the morning with the team at last showing their early foursomes form and the Captain David Cook along with Tom Peacock were five up after nine and wrapped up the win and the match on the fifteenth 4&3.Harry and Ben continued with another fine win on the last 1up and new pairing of Tom Robson and Tom Leech also brought success with a fine 3&2 win. Weymouth pair Jon and Robbie suffered the only defeat of the afternoon. So a fine win and we continue to be a thorn in the side of Wiltshire!!
Full result sheet
So unless Somerset has a hot streak of form they were taking home the Wooden Spoon so our players could relax and play golf, Jon Welch led us off and this was a tight affair with Jon losing out on the Seventeenth to Somerset’s in form Will Poole, Weymouth Team mate Robbie had to play all eighteen to secure the first point 1up. The Captain had a much clearer mind this morning and it should with some fine golf and a fine 3&1 win. Aaron is still looking for his first win as he came up against a good opponent losing 4&3. The Ferndown trio of Giles, Tom and Harry all secured wins although Harry thought he had halved as he shook hands with Somerset Captain Phil White but after some mental arithmetic and pondering it was agreed Harry had in fact won 1up!!! Local Ben Churchill had a great tussle with last year’s English Amateur finalist Jamie Clare which ended all square. The afternoon Foursomes with the exception of Jon & Robbie were all tight affairs. Jon and Robbie won 4&3 ensuring the match was Dorset’s second win of the week, the next two went to Somerset and Tom & Tom won on the seventeenth when the older Tom sunk a great putt to give them a 2&1 victory.
A great effort by all the players to ensure we got something out of the week after a disappointing start overall there were some strange results during the week which was superbly hosted by Dudsbury Golf Club who looked after all the players and officials extremely well and our sincere thanks go to the owners, staff and members for allowing us to use their course for the week.
After a disappointing start to the week when we lost a close match concluding with an amazing up and down from Gloucestershire and a defeat from Devon we had some good individual scores in the strokeplay championship, the best being Jon Welch with an excellent 146 in tough conditions.
Wednesday again we started well but we let a lead slip in the foursomes resulting in another defeat.
On Thursday we led Wiltshire 6-2 at lunch then continued this good form winning 3-1 in the foursomes giving the players a real list into the final day.
In the match against Somerset we again performed well in the singles and shared the foursomes 2-2 meaning we finished the week with two victories which the players thoroughly deserved after all the effort and preparation they have put in. I also congratulate Jon Welch for his selection for the South West to play the Midlands at Burnham and Berrow Golf Club in October.
My thanks to the President, Vice President, Chairman, Seniors Captain, Junior Managers, County Secretary, Doug Pratt and Colin Legg for their support this week and to our performance coach Dan Frost for his invaluable coaching and preparation which unquestionably was a big factor in our success.
I look forward to the remaining fixtures this season and to continue the form we have shown on Thursday and Friday this week.