Lancashire in box seat after dramatic singles comeback
Lancashire staged a remarkable recovery in this afternoon’s singles to put themselves in the box seat to win the Senior Men’s County Championship for the first time at Heworth Golf Club tomorrow.
Having been whitewashed in the foursomes, the Northern champions hit back hard to beat Hertfordshire 5-4 and now know they must beat Gloucestershire in their final match to lift the title at the third attempt.
But Gloucestershire are not out of the hunt after they squeezed a 5½ – 3½ victory over Nottinghamshire after dropping just half a point in the foursomes.
“This is one of the best results we’ve had in Lancashire seniors golf for a long time,” said their captain Norman Fletcher. “I think it’s the first time we’ve lost the foursomes 3-0 and to come back to beat a team as good as Hertfordshire by winning the singles 5-1 is a great credit to my team.
“When we were three behind at lunch, I told the team they were still in the game and they went out and did it and the man who lost his last two holes last night against Nottinghamshire, Alan Gillespie, produced the last win that sealed our victory. Now we have got to beat Gloucestershire tomorrow but you never know what is going to happen.”
Hertfordshire captain Peter Medcalfe was nonplussed at the result. “Strange things happen on golf courses,” he said. “I didn’t think we wouldn’t get two wins out of six in the singles but our guys couldn’t hole a putt.”
Having dominated the foursomes, Hertfordshire couldn’t have believed they wouldn’t win the match, but Lancashire came back fighting to win five of the six singles.
Having lost an hour due to frost that delayed the start of play in the morning, a two-tee start was employed for the singles which meant the Hertfordshire/Lancashire match started from the 14th tee in the afternoon. But the Northern champions were boosted by a superb victory from Jeremy Morgan, the Lancashire seniors champion, who beat senior international Doug Cameron 4 and 2.
That win was negated by another England seniors man, Tyrone Carter, who, at one stage was 7-up against Stuart Fawcett, but eventually won 5 and 4. Carter lost a ball off the first tee, the 14th, to surrender the hole, but he then won eight of the next ten holes to be 7-up. He lost the next two holes to a birdie and a par then he won the game in style. Despite losing a ball off the 13th tee, he scored an eagle with the second ball for a par five to win 5 and 4.
Otherwise it was Lancashire all the way. Glynn Rees had a ding-dong battle with John Ambridge, Hertford’s other seniors international, but took the 13th for a one hole win and was backed by Terry Brown and Mike Gray, both of whom won 3 and 2 over Martin McKenna and Gaius Potton respectively.
But it was Alan Gillespie who saw his side over the line when he beat Tom McEvoy by one hole in the crucial decider.
The other match was almost a carbon copy. Gloucestershire dropped just half a point in the foursomes but found Nottinghamshire a tough nut to crack in the singles. Although Richard Wood won his game convincingly 5 and 4 over Clive Graham, and Bob Broad edged to a 1 hole success over Colin Maber, that only assured Gloucester of a tie particularly as Notts hit back with Stuart Pond beating Dave Potter 5 and 3 and Neil Martin securing a 3 and 2 victory over Richard Boulding.
So where were the other points going to come from? In the remaining two games, Bill Higgins trailed David Brown in the top game, while Stuart Masson saw a handy two hole lead turn into a 2-down situation with two to play against Peter Higgins. But Masson won the last two holes to snatch a half while Bill Higgins won the 18th to halve his contest which gave Gloucester the point they required.
(image Jeremy Morgan © Tom Ward)