It's North v South West for the County Championship
Lancashire and Wiltshire will decide the destination of the English County Championship at Beau Desert Golf Club in Staffordshire tomorrow after each completed their second successive victory of the week.
Lancashire overwhelmed Worcestershire 6½ - 2½ while Wiltshire beat Suffolk by the same score.
Looking for their third title in four years, Lancashire found themselves down in all three foursomes matches at one stage during the morning. But they recovered to go into lunch 2-1 ahead and then started the singles with all guns firing.
But they surrendered the first single when Richard Sadler secured Worcester’s only afternoon point with a 7 and 6 victory over Paul Howard.
While Sadler played well but was only one over par through the 12 holes, Howard was decidedly off form and found himself 5-down at the turn.
But that was Lancashire’s only disappointment. John Carroll and Jon Hurst completed their second wins of the day, Carroll beating Rudy Hercik 3 and 2, while Hurst won 4 and 2 against Henry James.
That left Lancashire needing just a point for overall victory and it came from Mark Young in the bottom game when he recovered from losing the opening hole to beat Steven Lane 5 and 4.
Putting the icing on the cake, Paul Kinnear secured his fourth successive victory when he overcame Matt Vigurs 2 and 1, while Sean Towndrow, who came in for the injured Steve McGlynn, led for most of his game with Josh Carpenter.
But after being 2-up with three to play, Towndrow lost the short 16th to a par but came to the last 1-up. However, Carpenter got up-and-down from a greenside bunker for birdie but Towndrow was unable to match him after missing from 12 feet for a half.
Worcestershire will face Suffolk tomorrow for the third place spot after the East Anglians were well beaten by defending champions Wiltshire.
After the morning foursomes had been shared, like Lancashire, Wiltshire were fast out of the blocks.
Ali James won the top game 4 and 2 over Patrick Spraggs but only after the contest took a crucial swing on the back nine.
They were all square through 11 holes after Spraggs found his putting touch by changing his grip. But thereafter he lost his swing off the tee, conceding three successive holes from the 12th before a par at the short 16th saw James home.
Josh Loughrey went ahead with a par four at the first against Josh Cottrell and never looked likely to lose from then on. The Wiltshire man was out in an approximate one-under-par 33 and was 4-up and he wrapped up a 4 and 3 win at the 15th.
Robbie Busher was 1-down at the turn against Suffolk’s Ben Wallis but he won the 11th and 12th to lead before a birdie-four at the 15th put him on the way to a 3 and 2 success.
Two other games all went to the final green and both went in Wiltshire’s favour for Jordan Smith against Chris Soanes and for Garry Slade against Chris Vince.
Suffolk’s lone success was gained by Jack Cardy in the bottom single although he had to fight all the way against international Ben Loughrey.
Although Loughrey briefly led early on, Cardy was never headed after he went in front on the sixth. He held a slender lead to the 11th when the Suffolk man went further in front with a par four.
It was a grip he didn’t relax and he ran out a 2 and 1 winner.
Because of an adverse weather forecast for tomorrow (Sunday) with rain and high winds scheduled, the programme is being reversed with the singles in the morning, starting at 8am, with the foursomes in the afternoon.
(image of Paul Kinnear © Tom Ward)