The 2015 South West Counties Championship (SW Week) is being held at Bristol and Clifton Golf Club. The The Captain Giles Legg has selected the following to represent Dorset: Tom Robson, Andrew Robson from Weymouth along with Giles Legg (Captain), Tom Leech, Harry Mitchell & Dominic Knight from Ferndown, Andy Rideout and Ben Welch from Broadstone Ben Pritchard and Tom Atkins from Parkstone along with Joe Lovery from Christchurch. The event gets under way on the Saturday with a practice round for all six counties.
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 to be 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.
So we kicked off this year’s match play with a fine win over this year's English Champions Cornwall, it was an early start with the sun shining and it turned out to be a hot day. Andy Rideout led the team away and put on a mighty impressive performance to win 6&5. Rookie Dom Knight had a fine tussle on his first outing and just got pipped 2&1. Tom Leech got beat 2&1 in a match that both players failed to shine in. Tom Robson won 5&3 playing very steady golf, as for Joe he was still trying to secure his first County win but it was tough going against Richard Jasper who just got the better of him in the last few holes winning 2&1. Tom Atkins kept up his impressive performances with another fine win 4&2 over Ryan Curtis and this was also matched by a fine win from Harry 5&4 to make it all square after the morning singles. So Andy Rideout and Joe Lovery led the way and they had a great battle against Joe Cruse and Adam Curtis that went all the way with the Cornish pair taking the last to halve the match. The Robson brothers went next against Josh Greenaway and Richard Jasper and they found the Cornish pair up and in form eventually going down 5&4. But all was going well behind with Tom and Harry playing very well and this was matched by Giles and Tom and with both pair going six up after twelve life was looking good and a win over our old rivals was virtually secure which proved to be the case as Tom and Harry halved the next to win 6&5 with Giles and Tom going one better and taking the next to win 7&5. So a fine opening win for the team a great start to what could be a hot week well done all.
The other matches Gloucestershire v Devon & Somerset v Wiltshire
So we are up against Somerset in day two and Tom Robson led the way against Jamie Clare and with Jamie taking a early lead Tom dug hard to win by two. Tom Atkins found it tough going against Josh Hillard and Josh sealed the match on the fifteenth for a 4&3 win. This was followed by another Somerset win with Will Pooler beating Andrew Robson 3&2 Ben Pritchard turned his early loss of holes around to grind a good 3&2 victory against Robert Parker and Tom Leech beat Matt Turner 3&1 with some very steady golf. Dominic Fought hard but went down losing the seventeenth 3&1 and with Giles getting beat 4&3 it was up to Harry to bring home the last point for a half in the singles score. So Harry having played a superb up and down out of the trap on seventeen to bring all level then found the trees with his tee shot on the left with Phil finding the fairway, Harry had to chip out sideways away from his own fairway but then played a super shot in to just find the left fringe of the green. His opponent then found the trees on the left of the green and his chip just made the fringe Harry then left his chip some twelve foot short and Phil ran past with his some five feet. Harry then stepped up to hole the putt and sadly for Phil he missed his to give Harry the game 1up and make the single 4 apiece. The afternoon foursomes belonged to Somerset taking 3 of the four matches with only Tom and Andy Robson getting a halve.
The other matches Cornwall v Devon & Gloucestershire v Wiltshire
The SW Individual Championship over the 36 holes finished with Tom Robson and Alister Balcombe from Clevedon tied on 139 and having to play a four hole play-off. Tom took the early advantage and was 3 up after two holes this was then pegged back to two after the third play-off hole and Tom took a two shot advantage down the eighteenth hole which was good enough to give him the individual Championship. Congratulations to Tom on becoming the SW Counties Champion.
As for the team to play in the EG Qualifier it was: Ben Welch Andy Rideout, Ben Prichard, Harry Mitchell, Tom Atkins and Tom Robson.
Sadly Dorset finished sixth but we send our congratulations to Somerset who qualify for the County Finals.
We were up against Gloucestershire who were perhaps smarting a little after yesterday’s disappointment in missing out on the EG finals on home territory and in some respects we felt the butt of their frustration as they took control of most matches early on. Joe Lovery led the way going down 4&3. Dominic Knight was up against England star Jamie Dick and battled hard but Jamie seemed to be able to get up and down from anywhere finally winning 3&2. Harry Mitchell battled hard with Nick Day and unlucky not to take it down the last losing 2&1. Tom Robson continued to dominate and ran out a comfortable win over Jake Phillips 4&3. Andrew Robson had a real up and down match going four down then taking six of the next seven holes to go two up he was then pegged back and sadly for Andy he found the trees and a bad lie to lose the last and the match by one. Both Andy Rideout and Ben Pritchard found it hard going against opponents playing well going down 4&3 & 5&3 respectively. Tom Leech at the back had a cracking match at the back which went all the way with his opponent seeking a great putt on the last to halve the game. So it is a mountain to climb in the afternoon foursomes but we keep fighting. Unfortunately we were hit with some fine golf from our opponents in the foursomes losing all four matches. Harry and Tom took it all the way losing on the last, Giles and Andy fought hard but with their opponents putting in a great shot on the par three seventeenth it was all over losing 2&1. Joe and Andy playing Nick Day and Jamie Dick (-7 between them) were always up against it as their opponents were able to get up and down from anywhere. Tom and Dominic got hit with several birdies on the trot which left them struggling to hold on finally going down 6&4. The team now needs to put this behind them and come out tomorrow fighting as we take on Devon.
The other matches Cornwall v Somerset & Devon v Wiltshire
So here we are day 5 up against Devon a tough match but at last the sun is shining and the cold north wind has relented. Tom led the way and by the seventh was two up but all credit to Ryan he stuck in there and they halved the game. Dan Rosevear had a comfortable win over Giles. Harry battled hard but went down to Sam Dunn as did Ben and Andrew both losing, Andrew 2&1 and Ben on the last hole. Some good news was that Dominic got his first win in the singles with a fine 4&3 win over Jack Philpotts. Tom Leech struggled and was beaten 5&4 by Matt Wells. So to the foursomes let’s hope we can turn it around this afternoon alas it was not to be. Tom Robson with Harry Mitchell led the way in a very tight match with the Devon pair just taking 2&1 Next was Tom Leech and Andrew Robson with neither playing that well it was an early finish getting beat 6&4. Dominic Knight kept his form from the morning going as he partnered the Captain Giles and the pair secured our first win on the seventeenth 2&1. The last match was Andy and Joe who got hit with birdie on the first and by the finish of the eleventh was down by four they then got in gear and took the next three. They must have thought they were going to win the next when their opponents hit it OOB of the tee but they then put there next on the green fringe and chipped in for four and a halve!! So after halves at the next two it was down the last, with both on there for three it was up to the putting and with the Devon boys only four feet away they were favourite but Andy sunk a great birdie put and they then missed and it was a fine halved match which at one stage looked beyond us.
The other matches Wiltshire v Cornwall & Somerset v Gloucestershire
So to the last day and we need a halved match to avoid taking home the dreaded spoon once more the singles got off badly with Andy going down 4&2 and Joe 6&4. Ben but some brighter light on things with a fine 5&4 win and Giles beat the Wiltshire Captain 2&1. Tom (dump it and leave it) Leech like his curry from the previous night ran out of steam going down 5&3 but the ever improving Dominic put us back level with a fine 3&2 win over Jamie Amor. Andy Robson fought hard but having gone 4 down early on found the mountain to high with Jack Charman winning 2&1 so we needed Harry to produce the goods and he did securing his point on the last with a fine putt and it was all level with the foursomes to come. The front pair of Ben and Andrew did us proud getting us the first point with a fine 5&3 win. Andy & Joe fought hard but were always down and ran out losing 2&1 and Giles and Dominic also found it hard going and went down 4&3 so it was all on Tom and Harry who were against Gary Slade and Paul Green, this match was nip and tuck all the way with Tom and Harry going back in front after a superb second by Tom to the last but one hole eightieth left Harry with a tap in. Sadly a pulled shot out of the bunker on the last left us struggling and we lost it for a halved game giving the match to Wiltshire by the narrowest margin. So the spoon is with Dorset once more.
The other matches Cornwall v Gloucestershire & Somerset v Devon
Tom Robson wins 2 man play-off to secure South West Championship after scores of 71 and 68.
I had to start with this headline, as it was the highlight of this year’s South West Week for Dorset. Tom played exceptionally well on a blustery and very bouncy course to become Dorset’s first South West Champion for 15 years.
Unfortunately the other 5 members of the 6 man qualifying team all struggled, with Ben Welch the only other player to break 150. This resulted in Dorset coming last place in the Tuesday Strokeplay qualifier.
The week started so well with an exceptional performance against Cornwall, the current English County Champions. Four-all in the morning singles gave us the perfect platform for the afternoon foursomes. Giles Legg and Tom Leech sped to a 7&5 win and Tom Atkins and Harry Mitchell soon followed up with a 6&5 win. The match win was confirmed when Andy Rideout and Joe Lovery went up the last 1 up. They lost it to a birdie but the Team was very pleased with an opening win in the Tournament.
Another 4 – 4 scoreline the next morning against Somerset seemed to indicate we were heading for another potential win. This was not to be as we only scored a halved match in the foursomes courtesy of the two Robsons, a disappointing afternoon.
Our bad Strokeplay showing seemed to give us a golfing hangover the next day. We were never in the match against Gloucestershire, Tom Robson scoring our only win of the day in a 12.5 – 1.5 hammering.
The match against Devon the next day was a much closer affair but we still lost 9.25 – 4.75. A positive on this day was the 2 points won by Dominic Knight, his first points on debut.
We played Wiltshire on the last day. Dorset needed a halved match and Wiltshire needed to win to avoid the Wooden Spoon. Again we halved the morning singles 4 – 4, a good performance meaning we only needed to win 2 games in the afternoon foursomes. Ben Pritchard and Andy Robson won their match at the front but the next two matches went to Wiltshire. This was all going down to the last match. Tom Leech hit an amazing 5 iron to 3 feet on their 17th hole to go 1 up playing the last, a par 5. Amazingly after visiting sand, trees and the 1st fairway Tom Leech had a putt for a par. This agonisingly lipped out leaving the Wiltshire Captain a nervy 4 foot putt to half the game and win the match. He holed, ensuring that I would have to collect the Wooden Spoon at the prize giving and drive it back home to Dorset.
Although obviously a disappointing week after such a good start there are a few positives. 5 players were making their debuts, I’m sure experiencing the level of play at South West will encourage them to work hard on their games and improve. Tom Robson continues to impress, his Stroke Play win should boost his confidence for the rest of the season. And our win over Cornwall, the English Champions shows us when we perform to our potential we can beat any team.
Dorset County Captain