Dorset Seniors had the privilege of representing the SW Counties in the England Golf Senior County Championship Finals at Grange Park golf club St Helens from Tuesday to Thursday last week. This was the third time running that Dorset had qualified to represent the SW Counties for these National Finals.
The Dorset Seniors were represented by Tony Coles, Dave Barton, John Smith, Gary Earl, Phil Bill, Ashley Beckett, Mike Spearing and Mark Stickley.
We arrived at the club on the Sunday with practice on Sunday and Monday.
On Monday the weather forecast was bad for the following day with very heavy rain and strong winds. A long discussion with all the Captains, the club ground staff and England golf was held in the morning and again at 5pm and they were unanimous in agreeing that play should be abandoned on Tuesday and a revised format on Wednesday and Thursday implemented. This was matches of 8 singles between the 4 counties with foursome matches being abandoned. This did not favour Dorset. Tony Coles was injured on the Tuesday and unable to take any further part in the competition which reduced the matches to 7 per side and deprived Dorset of one of their strongest players.
We played Warwickshire in the first match on Wednesday morning and were just beaten by a very strong team with two reinstated European Tour players in their side, Gary Earl took one of them, Warren Bladon to the 18th green before losing a very close match.
On the Wednesday afternoon we played Yorkshire who have won the last two Finals and after a tight match Dorset won 4.5-3.5 to leave all to play for on the final day in which any of the teams could have won with the right permutations.
Our opponents in the last match were Sussex, somewhat of a bogey County for us and Sussex had been runners up in this Competition for the last 3 years.
Unfortunately for us they were well prepared again this time and despite some fighting performances we were beaten in the end by the worthy winners of the Finals.
All of the Dorset team played well and gave their all. We have to punch well above our weight in this type of company and beating the holders Yorkshire on Wednesday afternoon was an accomplishment and the Dorset team can be proud of their efforts in St Helens.