Boys’ County Championships: A dramatic second day in Kent

Devon will play Lancashire in the deciding match of this year’s Boys’ County Championships at North Foreland Golf Club in Kent.

The Devon team claimed a narrow 5-4 win over hosts Kent on the opening day and they followed that up with another win by the same margin against Northamptonshire to give themselves maximum points heading into the final day.

Northamptonshire’s Corey Neville and Joe Quinn got the match off to a good start with a 5 & 3 win over James Reed and Fred Bishop but it was Devon who went into lunch with a 2-1 lead after Craig Passmore and David Baldwin beat Owen Watts and Harry Oddy 3 & 1 and Matt Millar and Jay Scott supplied a 2 & 1 win over Max Hayward and Josh Pritchett.

Oddy quickly levelled things up after lunch when he beat Baldwin 4 & 3 in the opening singles. Bishop and Reed edged Devon two points ahead with big wins over Pritchett and Hayward but that advantage was cut in half when Quinn beat Passmore 2 & 1 before Millar and then Jeffery halved with Luis Witherall and Neville to supply the point they needed to give their side its slender one point win.

Devon are in the driving seat heading into the final day because their opponents Lancashire drew their second round match 4 ½ – 4 ½ with Kent after beating Northamptonshire 7-2 the day before. That means Lancashire need to win the decider while Devon would only require a halved match to win the trophy for the first time since the Boys’ County Championship was inaugurated in 1986.

The local Kent team romped out of the blocks with a 2 ½ – ½ win in the morning foursomes. Jacob Kelso and George Young put the first point on the board with a 4 & 2 victory over George Holland and Matthew Jackman. Oliver Lewis-Perkins and Jack Shipton then doubled the advantage with a 3 & 1 against Charlie Ward and Jack Anthony McPhail before Oliver Gaisford and James Wright halved with Josh Fallows and Jamie Van Wyk.

At that point it looked as if Lancashire had it all to do. That changed slightly when Holland beat the previously undefeated Kelso 5 & 3 in the opening singles but Kent quickly regained a two point lead when Young beat Alex James 5 & 3.

Thereafter Fallowes and McPhail put two points on the board for Lancashire with 5 & 4 victories over Wright and Lewis-Perkins. Shipton edged Kent ahead again with a win on the 18th against Ward but Van Wyk evened things up with a 3 & 1 win against Gaisford.