Northamptonshire and Wiltshire set up title showdown

Callum Farr

Northamptonshire and Wiltshire will meet tomorrow in a title showdown at the English Boys’ County Championship at King’s Lynn Golf Club in Norfolk.

Both won close matches today, with Northamptonshire defeating Durham 5-4 and Wiltshire beating Hampshire 5½-3½.

Northants, who are making their first appearance at County Finals, have two wins from two matches so far, giving them a slight edge over Wiltshire, who halved yesterday.

“It means we can halve tomorrow and win the title, which is a nice situation, but the boys won’t be going for that. They’ll want to win,” said Adam Myers, the Northamptonshire manager.

It’s the same sentiment from Wiltshire whose manager, Ian Welding, remarked: “We are definitely looking forward to tomorrow.”

Northamptonshire provided the highlight of the day when 17-year-old Callum Farr (Image © Leaderboard Photography) had a hole-in-one on the 133-yard fifth hole in the morning foursomes. Farr was playing with Ben Jones and his seven-iron shot put the pairing one up and set them on course for an emphatic 6/4 win.

It was the team’s only win of the morning but it kept them in touch and they went on to produce a strong singles performance. “It didn’t look great early on but the four lads at the back really started to give it a go and looked in control. It allowed the two lads at the front to give their opponents a good game,” said Myers.

The back four all had convincing wins: Matthew Myers signed off with a birdie on the 13th to win 5/4; Callum Farr overpowered his opponent 6/5; Ben Jones won 4/2 and Tom Forster was a 3/2 winner.

Wiltshire showed plenty of grit yesterday when they fought back from 3-0 down to halve their match. Today, they got off to a faster start, but again had to demonstrate plenty of character to lead 2-1 at lunch

They had one foursomes win in the bag and looked odds on to claim the second when Dom Burgess and Tom Stagg got to four up after 14 holes. But Hampshire’s Jason Stokes and Josh Sturt were far from finished and won the 15th, 16th and 17th with a run of birdie, birdie, par to reduce the deficit to one hole. However, the Wiltshire pair stopped the charge with a par four on the last, which halved the hole and gave them a one-up win.

In the singles Wiltshire and Hampshire each claimed one big win, but the other games were closely fought with three of the matches going to the 18th. “I was so pleased with the way they played, coming down the straight when the pressure was on, they did really, really well,” said Welding.

“We had some really good performances, for example Jake Bolton was three under when his match finished on the 14th. One of our younger players, Tom Stagg, was two up with two to play when the Hampshire boy had a really good putt to birdie the 17th and then hit the ball straight down the middle of the 18th.

“Tom smashed his own drive and, under great pressure, knocked it on the green and holed the putt for a birdie three to win the match. That kind of spirit and determination is what has helped us over the last couple of days.”

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