Yorkshire’s John Grimbleby has highlighted the strength in depth of the game at senior county level after guiding his team to a thrilling title.
Grimbleby captained the eight-man Yorkshire side which edged out a battling Sussex side in the Senior Men’s County Finals held this week at Effingham GC in Surrey.
For the second year running it was a tense finale to a hard-fought competition with the championship going down to the last two games left on the course.
Andy King holed the winning putt for Yorkshire to break Sussex hearts once again – for three years in succession Rick Thomas’ side have finished runners up by the narrowest of margins.
King was unbeaten in his games over the three days of round robin competition also featuring teams from Dorset and Lincolnshire.
At 65, Steve Mason won four of his five games for Yorkshire proving that although the side had two proven internationals in Richard Norton and Rich Jones they were certainly far from reliant on their England caps.
Grimbleby (pictured above with Mason) was not only full of praise for his team but also the standard of play on show from all four counties and sang the praises of those players featuring regularly on the seniors’ circuit
“It’s a tough format to end a long season for many of these players who have been involved in a lot of county and international events,” said Grimbleby, honorary secretary at Howley Hall GC.
“But when you see the level of performance from my players – and all of the teams, to be truthful – it shows you just how strong the game is at senior level in England.
“The good thing about the success of championships such as this one is that will simply encourage more seniors to push to get involved.
“As well as the players on show at Effingham this week there are a lot of really good players at county level and more and more of them are remaining competitive for longer.
“This can only be good for the seniors’ game at club and county level.”
Yorkshire knew that only a victory in the match with Sussex would do as they looked to follow up a 2017 success at Goswick GC with a second seniors title.
And when King and then Alan Wright earned half points in the final two matches to guarantee a 5-4 win the bubbly was uncorked.
Grimbleby missed out on skippering Yorkshire to victory in 2017 as his wife was recuperating from knee surgery.
Now he’s got a taste for winning he’s keen to play a role in helping Yorkshire defend their title in Torquay next season.
“I had thought about stepping aside from the captaincy, but not now,” said Grimbleby with a chuckle.
“These are a great bunch of boys to work with and the whole week is a great celebration of all that’s good about seniors golf.
“I’d love to be involved again next season.”
Photograph credit: Leaderboard