With the weather forecasters getting it wrong again we faced drizzle at first followed by heavy rain making a very well presented Dorset Golf &Country Club course even longer as we set about the last Colts match of the season against a strong Sussex outfit. The foursomes was perhaps on of the best performances in this discipline I have seen at this level and after nine we were up in three and level in one, all matches went to the eighteenth and I was over the moon to see our debutants Dan and Dominic secure a win on the last hole in a match they controlled from the start. Lloyd and Rob felt a little aggrieved when a bunker decision went against them and Lloyd just lipped on the last which would have secured a half. Alex and Alex fought back well from a bad start and brought it level after nine and again just missed securing a halve on the last by a whisker. Harry and John had a right tussle and I think all four agreed it was a good result with some fine golf played by all.
Harry led the way in the single and did not disappoint securing a fine win on the last, John looked comfortable and played some of his best golf securing a fine win, the rain got to Alex and the next three just found the level hard to keep up with, Lloyd had a remarkable finish 2 down he then hit his opponent with a birdie blitz from Fourteen to walk of seventeen having secured a fine 2&1 win. Rob having had the bunker decision go against him in the morning (wrongly) was well up to get a point and after thirteen was 3 up, his opponent did come back at him with some great play but rob won the seventeenth and then halved the last to secure his win.
This was a great performance by Dorset yesterday all the players were a great credit to the County, whilst the result was a harsh, their play, behaviour and sportsmanship was terrific and for that I thank them, I look forward to seeing these youngsters perform in future matches.
Though threatening rain it held off to produce a glorious day. Watered fairways meant green grass and slowish but true greens. The club was truly accommodating with a very warm welcome. The Kent team boasted a highest handicap of 1 and showed it in the foursomes, with one close result in the last match. After a massive reshuffle the singles proved a great surprise with an excellent string of wins for Matt Hector, Alex Spencer and John Milne - finishing with a splendid birdie - and a superb half from Archie Harding. James Chapman was also unlucky to lose 2 down. As the County President, Doug Pratt, remarked, the key was yet again getting up and down from anywhere within 150 yards. Our short game was somewhat lacking! The final result was 8 ½ : 3 ½ to Kent. Nevertheless an encouraging result for which great credit is due the Highcliffe Castle contingent of four. Thanks are due to Doug for his support and to the club and Kent hierarchy for their generous hosting and welcome.
Arlesford GC is a very pleasant parkland course, well established from 1890 but still, in places, a little hard underfoot. It is well manicured and the greens were in good condition for the early part of the golfing season. The weather was patchy with a breeze and the occasional very light shower. The reception was excellent, all credit going to the club and the forethought of the Hampshire officials.
The team was somewhat depleted by the demands of the Beckford Bowl by many clubs in the county. So a number of potentially regular Colts players was augmented by some Juniors so that they could gain some top class match experience. The Hampshire team was strong with six of their players also in the County 1st team. Their highest handicap was 1!
The foursomes went surprisingly well with Rob and Tom finally losing only 2 down having been 5 down after five holes at the start. Harry and Ollie met two in form lads and Gareth with Jordan succombed 2 down after a really good scrap. All credit to Sam and Jackson winning 2&1 against a really in form pair, especially Sam Robertshawe fresh from a national triumph at Royal St Georges. We had a magnificent lunch 3:1 down to Hampshire.
In true Ryder Cup style Hampshire turned on the pressure in the afternoon singles. Rob did well to escape only 4&3; Harry had a real battle with a strong Neil Raymond to lose 1 down; Tom lost to another Tom 5&4 and Jordan went down to Colin Walsh 4&2 after doing well to lead 2 up after six holes. Then - success, with Ollie winning 4&3 against Scott Gregory who substituted for an injured Rob Gowers. Jackson had a heavy defeat from Sam Robertshawe who was probably intent on gaining revenge for his morning's loss in the foursomes. He played extremely well. Then another success for Sam, winning 2 up against a doughty Jordan Aimley, his magnificent birdie on the long par 5 17th clinching a great match. Lastly Gareth fell to Chris Harrison having had a good start going two up after two! Once again the quality of the Hampshire golf was very evident.
At the final reckoning we lost 9:3 to a strong Hampshire side. It was not a bad result. Sam Parsons can be proud of himself achieving maximum points in his debut Colts match. The lads had some excellent insights into quality golf from a nearly all plus handicap team. I believe some good lessons were learnt by some of the more junior members, in particular the old chestnuts of a sharp short game and quality putting. We were looked after very well by our Hampshire hosts. A special word of thanks is due Ian Hulse for his support throughout the day and to Kevin Mitchell who stayed with us for the whole match, and Steve Howlett for his presence in the afternoon. A good day; a fine course; a great and warm welcome; and a number of excellent lessons for the future.
For the result sheet click here.
We were met at the ferry terminus by a taxi and taken to the beautiful Osborne course set in the grounds of Osborne House. A light breeze and sunshine greeted us and stayed all day. After a welcome coffee and soft drinks the foursomes got underway at 8.50am on the delightful 9 hole course. Rowan and Lloyd could not meld at all and lost 7&5,; Harry Shaw and Rob lost 3&2 but had scrapped well and had a faint chance to win earlier. The two Alex's did well to win 1 up with Sonny and Harry combining well to win 3&2.
Sandwiches and chips preceded the singles with Rowan and Lloyd requesting a lower berth in the order. This skewed the outcome slightly. Harry Shaw did very well to hold George Foreman to a 1 up win and Rob met an in form Brandon Thompson. The two lower berths could not find a game between them, both losing 6&5. Again the Alex's came up trumps with two wins, Alex Kerr with a polished 3 &2 and Alex Spencer with a great chip-in at the 16th. Sonny had a great battle and could have won at the 18th but a weak chip followed by a missed put gave him a hard-earned half. All square with one to play Harry Mitchell essayed a drive to the 352 yard green, plonking his shot into a green side bush. That cost him the hole and the match.
Overall we lost 7 ½ : 4 ½ , a result that could and should have been square. However without last season's regulars and a healthy infusion from the Juniors squad perhaps the result was not as poor as I have painted. The course itself had some interesting tee shot lines but was most difficult on the greens with some really challenging slopes and borrows. We were royally welcomed and treated. It was also a pleasure to have Dawn and Graham Wilkinson as company throughout the day.
To see pictures of the day click here.
For the result sheet click here.