Gloucestershire and Yorkshire will go head-to-head tomorrow in the title decider at the English Women’s County Finals at Waterlooville Golf Club in Hampshire.
They both scored big wins today with Gloucestershire beating Staffordshire 8-1 while Yorkshire defeated Norfolk 6.5-2.5. In the day’s other match Buckinghamshire had their first win of the week, beating Surrey 5-4.
Gloucestershire, who were unbeaten today, were an advertisement for young golf. Their team in the singles had an average age of 16, topped and tailed by England international Bethan Popel, age 21, and 13-year-old Ffion Tynan, who is the English U14 girls’ champion (pictured bottom).
This morning’s foursomes pairings – only a little older – pulled off a 3-0 clean sweep to lay the foundations of their win. In the afternoon Popel beat par as she swept off to win 6/4 in the top match. Then two 15-year-olds made certain of Gloucestershire’s point: Ebonie Lewis birdied the last two holes to grab a half and, with county girls’ champion Caley McGinty dormie three up, the win was secured.
But the youngsters weren’t finished. Claudia Ovens and Alex Giles both won while Tynan halved her game.
Team captain Andra Knight was delighted by her young team. “We were very pleased that Caley and Ffion were able to make their singles debut and give a very good account of themselves. We are very excited about the future of Gloucestershire golf.”
She went on: “Tomorrow will be the big showdown, but we’re thinking of it as just another match. The players are very excited that they have got to this stage and we are trying to keep them in the present, one shot, one game at a time.”
Gloucestershire are playing in their sixth consecutive County Finals but have yet to win this championship. Yorkshire, by contrast, are seeking their 12th win and have won all four of their matches so far this week.
Today, they won the foursomes 2-1 before putting in a strong singles performance. Alison Knowles scored another one of her trademark big wins, signing off 5/4, and is looking forward to tomorrow: “We’ve all played really well this week so I fancy our chances,” she said.
Olivia Winning was next in, scoring 14 pars and one birdie as she eased to her 4/3 win. Then Hannah Holden sealed the team’s win with her 6/5 victory in which she didn’t lose a hole. “Tomorrow should be a great match, there’s everything to play for,” she said. Melissa Wood added another point to the tally while Megan Clarke halved.
Yorkshire captain Dawn Clegg summed up: “Tomorrow we still have to do the business. This is the Waterloo.
“The girls have just played and hung in and been magnificent, now they have one more day, one more battle and I have every faith in them.”
In the day’s other match Buckinghamshire took the advantage in the foursomes, winning 2-1, thanks to the pairings of Megan Dennis and Thalia Kirby; and Denise Goodacre and Daisy Kennedy.
The extra point proved crucial when the singles were shared with three wins apiece. Buckinghamshire’s points were scored by Kirby, Kennedy and Dennis.
With one day’s play left, Yorkshire are top of the table with 8pts from 4 wins; Gloucestershire have 7pts; Buckinghamshire 3; and Norfolk, Surrey and Staffordshire each have 2.
Click here for full scores.