Yorkshire and Sussex got their campaigns off to a flyer with victory on day one of the Senior Men’s County Finals.
Last year’s runners-up Sussex edged out Lincolnshire by a narrow 5-4 margin to claim two points.
Yorkshire – the 2017 champions – fought off a gutsy Dorset side to put their two points on the board courtesy of a 5.5-3.5 triumph.
Sussex showed their early desire to claim a maiden success in this event when they swept the board in the three morning foursomes against a Lincolnshire side slow out the traps.
Victories for the partnerships of Steve Graham and Martin King (pictured above), Martin Galway and Martin Cawte and Doug Park and Colin Jones set Sussex on their way.
Perhaps stung by the start to the Finals, Lincolnshire hit back in the afternoon singles.
Tim Seaton, Paul Wharton and Simon Ostrom recorded thumping wins to help redress the balance.
Galway then responded for last year’s runners up while Park added a point to the Sussex tally when he saw off the threat of Woodhall Spa’s Latham.
Colin Trestrail earned the final individual plaudits of the day for Lincolnshire with a win on the 18th, but the team honours went the way of Sussex.
It was the ideal start for a county still smarting at losing out to Lancashire in the final moments of drama a year ago.
Yorkshire, though, will be formidable opponents in the final two days of action.
Dorset – looking to finish higher than their third place in 2018 – had shown they meant business by halving the morning foursomes thanks in part to a victory for Tony Coles and Ashley Bennett over England international Rich Jones and his colleague Johnny Lawrence.
John Smith and David Barton also earned a half point when another England international – Richard Norton – and his partner Alan Wright were held to a tie.
Andy King and Ian Clarke’s 8&6 win over Gary Earl and John Pounder restored parity at lunchtime before the afternoon singles took to the course with the match poised at 1.5-1.5.
Jones, Stephen Mason (pictured below) and King did their jobs with early wins for Yorkshire. Gary Earl claimed the notable scalp of Norton to pull one back for Dorset.
Ian Clarke’s victory over David Barton helped take Yorkshire over the line before the final match of the day ended with a Dorset win for John Smith over Mark Lawson.
A session of excellent scoring at Effingham GC in Surrey has teed up an exciting final two days of competition.
On day two, Sussex will take on Dorset while Yorkshire face up to Lincolnshire.
Photograph credits: Leaderboard