Yorkshire came through an endurance test today to become favourites to capture the English Senior Men’s County Championship for the first time.
They defied the extremely challenging weather at Goswick Golf Club Northumberland, to defeat Gloucestershire 6.5-2.5. In the day’s other match Sussex beat Warwickshire by the same margin.
The results mean Yorkshire have two wins from the two matches played so far and will take the title tomorrow if they win or halve against final day opponents, Warwickshire.
However, Sussex and Warwickshire both have one win apiece and could be in the hunt if Yorkshire loses and the result goes to countback.
Today, the players all had an additional opponent in the shape of the very challenging weather. Strong winds swept across the course this morning before being replaced by torrential showers, compete with hail stones on the high ground. Late afternoon sunshine was succeeded by plunging temperatures as the final games were concluded.
But throughout the golf was of very good quality, exemplified by Yorkshire’s Jonathan Plaxton (pictured top). The former England international played through the downpours and was level par for the 11 holes he required to win his match.
It was the signal for Yorkshire to put their foot down, after being held to a draw in the foursomes. Andy King and Garry Cuthbert both won 5/3, before Ian Clarke’s 4/3 win gave the team the winning point. Peter Ward won on the last to extend the scoreline, while Gloucestershire’s Vernon Chappell prevented the singles whitewash.
Yorkshire captain Tony Greenhalgh remarked: “We were a bit disappointed not to get two points out of the foursomes, but they came out very well in the afternoon. Whenever we looked at the leaderboards they said up, up, up and that keeps the players going.”
Tomorrow’s plan? “We’ll just keep doing what we’ve been doing,” said Greenhalgh.
Sussex, meanwhile, played their way back into the championship from their first day disappointment, when they lost 4-5 to Yorkshire. “It was such a close game ad we were disappointed not to make a half of it,” said captain Rick Thomas.
But his team came out in positive mood today, taking a 2-1 lead after the foursomes and then securing 4.5 points from the hard fought singles.
Martin Galway continued his unbeaten run when he won the first singles point 4/3. Andrew Carman added a half while, in quick succession, David Alderson (pictured right) won on the last and Doug Park finished 3/2 to claim the victory. The scoreline was completed by Roy Stephenson’s 1 up win.
“Tomorrow we will go out to put as many scores on the board as we can,” said Thomas. “We want to give ourselves the best chance, should it happen that Yorkshire lose and we go to countback.”
Images copyright Leaderboard Photography