Yorkshire and Gloucestershire pulled away from the field today after both won their third day matches in hot sunshine at English Women’s County Finals at Waterlooville Golf Club, Hampshire.
The Northern champions scored their third straight win, beating Buckinghamshire 7-2 and have amassed 6pts in the championship race. Gloucestershire are chasing them hard and after beating Surrey today, also by 7-2, have 5pts from two wins and a draw.
In the day’s other match Norfolk and Staffordshire halved. They both have 2pt, as do Surrey, while Buckinghamshire have one.
Yorkshire won two foursomes and five singles and their play today was notable for a string of big wins. Afterwards the team revealed their secret. It’s chocolate!
Each day the biggest win, morning and afternoon, is rewarded with a bar of chocolate and competition within the team is intense. So far Alison Knowles is leading the sweet stakes with four bars. She and Olivia Winning have picked up three from their foursomes wins – scoring 7/6, 6/4 and 5/4 – and this afternoon she collected a fourth from her 7/6 singles win.
Hannah Holden and Rochelle Morris have also claimed their rewards, while county champion Megan Garland (image © Leaderboard Photography) is pushing hard for a bar.
Team captain Dawn Clegg confirmed: “Chocolate is the incentive and it works extremely well!”
She went on: “They have been tremendous today, focussed and very intent on the job in hand. They are just amazing.”
Gloucestershire’s captain Andra Knight was equally pleased with her team’s performance which keeps them right in the hunt. “We were absolutely delighted,” she said. “To win is great but to win 7-2 is a fantastic result. It was wonderful to watch such excellent golf, particularly from Alex Giles who played a very tough opponent.”
Gloucestershire won all three foursomes games and their international player, Bethan Popel, quickly added her singles point with a 5/3 win. Giles followed up with a gritty win on the 18th secure the team’s victory.
“I had no idea that I would win the match but it’s pretty cool to have got the point for everyone,” she said. Further wins by Becky Gibbs and Ebonie Lewis extended the scoreline.
Norfolk and Staffordshire repeated their result of yesterday with another halved match – with a definite touch of déjà vu as Debbie Warren again decided the overall result for her team.
Staffordshire held the early advantage after winning the foursomes 2-1, but Norfolk were hot off the blocks in the afternoon. Amelia Williamson and Ellie Brown won the first two games 5/4, Tracey Williamson added her point on the 16th and Amy Taylor won the last to halve her game.
But once again, Norfolk were thwarted in their efforts for an overall win. Staffordshire’s Morgan Thomas stopped a fightback from her opponent to win 2/1, then, and in the decider, Debbie Warren won the 16th, 17th and 18th to finish two-up.
“It was almost exactly the same finish as yesterday, I was one down with three to play both days. Those last few holes are quite tight and it’s easy to have a shot leak away into the trees and that’s kind of what happened to my opponents.”
Staffordshire captain Julia Gaunt added: “A half is a good result, it’s not a loss and we’ll take it.”
For Norfolk captain Tracey Williamson it was a case of: “Nearly but not quite. It was looking promising at one time and it’s a little bit disappointing when you think it’s all going to come together, but that’s golf.”
Tomorrow Buckinghamshire play Surrey, Gloucestershire play Staffordshire; and Yorkshire play Norfolk.
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