Sparkling Hertfordshire storm to Seniors title
Hertfordshire produced a stunning display to secure the Seniors County Championship for the first time by overwhelming Nottinghamshire 8-1 on the final day at Heworth. That one-sided scoreline proved sufficient as Lancashire came up short by losing 5-4 to Gloucestershire.
The South East champions knew they had to win and hope that Gloucestershire did them a favour and that’s exactly how it played out. Both counties finished with four match points but Hertfordshire came out on top on their better game points aggregate.
Their previous day’s setback against Lancashire arguably provided Hertfordshire with the springboard they needed to put them back on track and they took full advantage.
“I felt that yesterday’s slip might cost us,” said Herts captain Peter Medcalfe. “But this is a stunning victory. The lads played well all week, we had a bit of a hiccup yesterday afternoon but overall it was brilliant.
“I think the foursomes was the key. We were very strong on all three days. Yesterday we missed the putts, today they went in but that’s the difference in golf.
“I also think that having three senior internationals in the team have us the edge and for Tyrone to win all six of his games was a tremendous effort.
“This will be a great fillip for us for the Southern Counties Foursomes final next week and having won the South East League, this win is the icing on the cake.”
Hertfordshire were again invincible in the morning foursomes, winning all three games, none of which went to the final green.
They were in a similar situation the previous day only to see that lead slip in the singles. This time there was no slip as Hertfordshire won five of the six games.
Tyrone Carter gave them the perfect start with a 6 and 4 win over Donald McCart to complete a perfect personal record of six wins out of six.
The Barbadian from Stevenage was out in 34, one under par, then reeled off three birdies in the final five holes to underline his class and his power.
His fellow senior internationals followed suit, John Ambridge beating Stuart Pond 3 and 2 while Doug Cameron came out on top by the same score against Mike Briggs.
Although Peter Higgins gave Nottinghamshire something to smile about with a 2 and 1 success over Tom McEvoy, David Danhauser and Peter Bax added to Hertfordshire’s delight with wins over Neil Martin and Colin Maber respectively.
Lancashire began the day with three match points, one ahead of Hertfordshire while Gloucestershire were on two. But the latter pair overtook them by virtue of their victories, relegating Lancashire to third place in the final rankings.
Losing the foursomes 2-1 left Lancashire needing to win at least four of the six singles but Gloucestershire were always battling hard and never allowed them any leeway.
The South West champions drew first blood when Richard Wood beat Robert Fox 5 and 4 while Stuart Masson added to Lancashire’s woes by gaining a 2 and 1 result over Alan Gillespie.
But Lancashire weren’t going down without a fight. Glynn Rees generally held sway to beat Dave Potter 4 and 3 while Mike Gray came out on top 2 and 1 against Bill Higgins.
County seniors champion Jeremy Morgan added to Lancashire’s tally with a 2 and 1 win over Bob Broad but that still left them needing a win to seal the title. But it proved elusive as Ian Melvin clinched the final game 4 and 3 over Terry Brown.
Lancashire Captain Norman Fletcher was in reflective mood. “We are naturally very disappointed but today was another reflection of how tight these games are. But I think we have to look at our foursomes play as our results there were not good.
“Congratulations to Gloucestershire, who beat us today, and to Hertfordshire on finishing as champions.”
Image of Hertfordshire team © Tom Ward.