Essex were duly crowned English Boys County champions when they beat Derbyshire on the final day at Sandiway to lift the title for the third time.
Their 8½ – ½ success over the Midland winners was their third victory of the week and underlined their overall supremacy in the event while Durham came from behind to beat Wiltshire 6-3 to ensure themselves of second place.
“The boys have done a superb job and they finished in style,” said Essex manager Brian Collins. “To win our region and to get to the final was an achievement. To win the championship again is a real boost for Essex.
“It’s been a great week for us but all the teams have shown a desire and commitment. We’ve been to the final before and not closed the deal. This time the team bonded superbly and while I don’t like to single out players, special mention must go to Taylor Carter who won all his six games.”
Having won all three morning foursomes, as they did on the previous two days against the other two counties, the South East champions continued in winning vain in the afternoon singles, taking the top two games to confirm their over victory.
Todd Clements edged them towards the finishing line with a 7 and 6 win over Matt Bailey while Louis Lazarus completed a 4 and 3 success against Josh Thorley. Clements was out in level par to be 5up and he also won the tenth and 12th to close out the contest.
Birdies at the second, third and fifth plus a conceded eagle at four saw Lazarus race 4up but Thorley stuck to his guns and halved the deficit by the turn with a par and a birdie. However, Lazarus birdied the 466-yard tenth and short 11th to restore his 4up lead and although Thorley responded with a winning birdie at 13, a Lazarus birdie-three at 15 ended the contest, the Essex lad being five under par.
Clements Essex clubmate Elliot Fullalove, who jets off to an American college tomorrow, and Jamie Booth were locked in a titanic battle with little to separate them until the back nine where the Essex lad went birdie-par-par-birdie to secure a 4 and 2 success.
Taylor Carter proved the most successful Essex players when he completed his sixth win in six outings with a 3 and 2 scoreline against Will Painter. The Derby lad led early on but when Carter got into his stride he won three holes in four from the tenth to build a winning lead.
Mitch Sarling slowly built a lead over Will Davidson, going 2up at the turn and despite being pulled back to all square through 14, reeled out successive birdies at 16 and 17 for a 2 and 1 win.
The lone half point that escaped Essex grasp was gained by Derby’s Josh Ashton, who fought a neck-and-neck battle with Bradley Bawden, both players holding a two hole lead at different times. But they came to the 18th with Bawden 1up where Ashton holed a lengthy birdie putt to snatch a half.
After trailing 2-1 from the morning foursomes, Durham were quick out of the blocks in the afternoon, winning the top three singles. Chris Handy, their under 16 international, found three birdies in the first six holes to be 2-up and he added another with a par at seven.
However, his opponent, James Wiltshire responded by birdying the ninth to reduce the arrears to one by the turn. Not to be outdone, Handy then won the 13th and 14th and although he lost 15, a Wiltshire concession on 17 sealed Handy’s win.
Aaron McManus put Durham ahead with a 4 and 3 win over Charles Dunn. McManus led from the first, was 4up at the turn and never lost his lead, while Sam Donald provided another Durham success with a 5 and 4 triumph against Jamie Amor.
There was little to separate the pair over the first six holes but Donald won the seventh and eighth to go 2up and he closed out the game by winning three in a row from the 12th. Jack Ainscough and Cameron Wallace added to Durham’s collection,
Ainscough found three birdies on the back nine, including one at the last to complete a 2hole win over Rhys Edwards, while Cameron Wallace birdied three of the first six holes against Tom Law. That put him 3up at the turn but Law battled back to 1down through 14 only to lose the contest 2 and 1.
Wiltshire’s lone victory was secured by Dom Patton, who led all the way against James Wilson and eventually ran out a 2 and 1 winner.
“I have tremendous respect for my team for the way they battled back,” said Durham manager Ken Joel. “We could have been 3-0 down this morning but that one win gave us a fighting chance. I’m over the moon to finish second to Essex.”
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