Our SE League rivals qualified yet again along with Northamptonshire and Cheshire. It should be born in mind that both the Cheshire and Kent teams are full of Home Internationals and the other members also play in the top senior competitions such as the British Seniors Open and all of the other National Opens plus some on the continent. In short they are much more battle hardened than our Dorset team. The format for this competition is a round robin with each match comprising three foursomes in the morning and six singles in the afternoon. A team of eight does mean that the Captain has the opportunity to give players a rest.
Tuesday 5th. Dorset versus Northamptonshire. Once again foursomes were to be our downfall. Earlier in the year we had tried out different foursomes pairings but still the magic combinations continue to elude us. A very convincing win in the first match proved to be our only foursomes point of the week with Northamptonshire taking a 2 - 1 lead. The afternoon was a different matter when we played very well and won five of the six singles to win our very first National Finals match 6 - 3. A very heartening start for the team.
Wednesday 6th. Dorset versus Cheshire. This was undoubtedly the most disappointing result for the team. In the foursomes we were all square in all three matches after twelve holes but lost each one by very narrow margins. In the afternoon singles we beat Cheshire 3 ½ - 2 ½ to lose the match by 3 ½ - 5 ½. To win the singles was a great achievement but everybody in the team felt that we could have won the match, and what a fillip for Dorset Golf that would have been to halve with or even beat the mighty Cheshire.
Thursday 7th. Dorset versus Kent. Kent once again were too strong for us. Yet again we lost all three foursomes and the singles 1 ½ - 4 ½. Losing the match 1 ½ - 7 ½ . Perhaps we could have squeezed one more point out of the match, but certainly not more than one.
The Result. Both Kent and Cheshire finished with two wins and one half but Kent took the title with 18 ½ game points to Cheshire's 18. Dorset was in third place with 2 match points from our win against Northamptonshire who occupied the fourth place. Our good showing against Cheshire on day two had a major effect on the final result, but if we could have won that extra 1 ½ points to win the match with Cheshire Dorset would have been second instead of Cheshire. Sadly "ifs & buts" don't count but it does show how close we came.Captains Conclusion. The Dorset performance was very much better than last year at Tandridge. We had some really good individual performances and the gap is definitely closing. However what was very obvious to the onlooker was the difference between our short game and those of Cheshire and Kent. Time and time again from one hundred yards out they put the ball much closer to the hole, generally in the right place just below the hole, and they holed their putts whereas we missed quite a lot of shortish ones that could have turned some of the games in our favour. However overall it was a very encouraging performance from the Dorset team