Gloucestershire edge ahead in Women’s County Finals

Gloucestershire moved a significant step closer to defending the English Women’s County Finals title when they beat Lincolnshire 6 ½ – 2 ½ on the third day of this year’s tournament at Delamere Forest in Cheshire.

That victory coupled by a defeat for nearest challengers Yorkshire means that Gloucestershire are now the only team with a one hundred percent record heading into the penultimate day of the tournament.

The two leading teams now play each other in a match which will go a long way towards deciding the final outcome.

Gloucestershire went into the third day with victories over Norfolk and Surrey already under their belts and against Lincolnshire they quickly got into their stride with foursomes victories from Bethan Popel and Alex Saunders, Ffion Tynan and Issy Hopkins and Claudia Ovens and Ebonie Lewis.

Lewis beat Helen McDougall 4 & 2 in the top singles while Popel secured a 5 & 3 victory over Tilly Garfoot and Tynan and Saunders halved against Billie-Jo Smith and Ellise Rymer. India Clyburn and Meg Illingworth secured consolation victories for Lincolnshire against Sam Round and Megan Bartlett.

Gloucestershire team captain Su Mallon was thrilled with the way her team performed on what could prove a pivotal day in this year’s event.

“It was a really exciting day – and has added a few more grey hairs, “she said.

“The team were terrific again on what is a beautiful but really quite hilly and challenging course.

“Ffion managed to come back from four down to half her match and that was very important as was Alex’s half point in the final match.

“Bethan and Ebonie won their matches and Megan – our little rookie – played so well only losing out on 18.

“It sets everyone up for another great day on Thursday for the game against Yorkshire.

“They will be smarting a little after losing today so we know they will be out to make amends, but we’re playing well and I’m so proud of my team.”

Yorkshire had beaten Buckinghamshire and Norfolk on the first two days of the competition but their winning run came to a halt with a 5-4 defeat against Surrey. The 2017 champions appeared on course for a hat-trick of wins after winning the foursomes 2-1 but Melissa Wood and Evie Cooke were their only winners in the six singles. Lottie Woad, Jessica Adams, Rafiah Banday and Canice Screene all claimed points for the victorious Surrey team.

In the other match on the course Norfolk collected their first win of the week with a 5 ½ – 3 ½ victory over Buckinghamshire. They were 2-1 up after the foursomes but lost two of the first three singles before Karen Young, Joanne Herd and Tiffany Mills all won at the bottom of the order. Abigail O’Riordan halved her match against Daisy Kennedy.

The leaderboard at the end of the third day shows Gloucestershire on top with three wins ahead of Yorkshire with two and Norfolk, Buckinghamshire, Lincolnshire and Surrey all with one win apiece.

View the live Women’s County Final scoreboard

Photograph credit: Leaderboard