Yorkshire and BB&O – Berks, Bucks & Oxon – took the honours on the first day of the English Boys' County Championship at Northamptonshire County Golf Club.
Yorkshire were on top form, beating Somerset 8-1, while BB&O had the upper hand all day as they played their way to a 5.5-3.5 win over Staffordshire.
The northerners announced their intentions when they won all three morning foursomes before surging out with a confident singles performance.
Only Somerset’s Huxley Howell was able to defy them, breaking clear of James Swash by winning the 11th 12th, 14th and 16th to take his point 4/2.
For the rest though, Yorkshire was definitely in charge. Michael Hay led the way in the top match, winning three holes in a row to finish 3/2. The others followed rapidly with big wins from George Heath (7/5) and Charlie Daughtry, pictured top (6/4) and solid results from Jack Leversidge and Callum Macfie (both 4/3).
Their play pleased coach Steve Robinson but he quickly said: “We are aware that one win doesn’t win the tournament, so we’ve just got to keep everyone on task and make sure that our standards and behaviour are the same every day.”
Tomorrow they’ll play Staffordshire and Robinson went on: “No doubt they’ll come out with a point to prove and want to beat Yorkshire and we have to make sure we are up to that challenge.”
In the day’s other match, BB&O gave themselves an all-important advantage with their 2-1 lead after the foursomes. They lost the top singles when Staffordshire’s Jack Smith struck a blow for his team’s morale with his 4/2 win over England U16 international Conor Gough.
But behind them the BB&O players were taking charge of their games, notably Harrison Arnold who romped to an 8/6 win. Fraser Bown (4/3) and Melan Dhaubhadel, pictured right, (5/4) secured the team’s win – but Staffordshire went on fighting in the other two games.
Harry Fearn was two down after nine but went on to win his game 4/2, while James Wilkes staged a great fight back to take BB&O’s Taylor Paul to the 18th. Wilkes had been four down after seven but eventually stood on the 18th tee all square – however Paul refused to give way and they halved the last in par.
BB&O team manager Marc Grimsey had much praise for his young team, which includes a 14-year-old and two 15-year-olds.
Despite their youth however, they calculate they have the lowest handicap aggregate of all the teams at plus-1.8. “That’s testament to how good the boys are,” said Grimsey.
“Our middle order did very well today, they were very solid and I’m very happy with a win against Staffordshire. Now we’re looking forward to tomorrow.”
BB&O will meet Somerset tomorrow.
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