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English Women's County Finals 2012


East Devon Golf Club

Daily Reports Published on the England Golf Website


Day 1 - Monday, 17th September 2012

Gloucestershire beat Champions at Women's County Finals

Gloucestershire held on through a nailbiting finish to beat defending champions Lincolnshire 5-4 on the first day of the England Golf women’s County Finals at East Devon Golf Club.  In the day’s other matches Essex beat Surrey 6½-2½; while Lancashire defeated Buckinghamshire 6-3.

Gloucestershire had to come from behind to beat Lincolnshire. They trailed 2-1 after the morning foursomes and, with singles matches running out, they had to win the last two games on the course to grab the point.  Shelby Smart, their county champion and an England girl international, claimed an impressive scalp when she defeated Lincolnshire’s Helen Hewlett by two holes. Helen is a past British champion, Curtis Cup player and a winner on the LPGA Tour.

Then Jo Hodge completed the turnaround when she won her game by one hole. She had been two up with two to play, ensuring a half at least for her team – but Gloucestershire wanted a win.  Team captain Karen Rix said: “Jo was a real star! I have no nails left, but it was a great start and I am really, really chuffed. We knew this would be tough, Lincolnshire are a good side and they have such a lot of experience.”

Essex, who are playing at County Finals for the first time in over 20 years, produced a superb singles performance to seal their first day’s win over Surrey.  The young team, composed mostly of teenagers, won five out of the six afternoon games but, despite the scoreline, the matches were close. Only Paige Kemp – playing for the county for the first time this year – won her game by a comfortable margin. The others all finished on the 17th or 18th.

Earlier in the day the team seemed odds-on to win the morning foursomes 2-1. But Surrey’s third pair fought back from three down with three to play, to halve their game and square the points at lunch. Essex captain Amanda Colegate-Herbert remarked: “It’s a great start, a good day’s work, and hopefully it will continue.”

Lancashire, the 2009 champions, set up their win when they took all the morning foursomes to hold a 3-0 lead at lunchtime.  Buckinghamshire, playing at County Finals for the first time in 34 years, rallied to share the afternoon singles, but could not deny their opponents a comfortable victory as the match ended in heavy drizzle.

Lancashire captain Val Moran commented: “We have to be very pleased and satisfied with our first day’s result. The score looks comfortable, but this afternoon’s singles were very close and keenly contested, with a number going to the 18th.”  She added: “This course is wonderful and I think the girls are finding it a really good test of golf. The greens are very tricky and I think that’s where it’s going to be won and lost.”

Results:-

Essex 6½ - Surrey 2½;   Gloucestershire 5 - Lincolnshire 4;   Lancashire 6 - Buckinghamshire 3


Day 2 - Tuesday, 18th September 2012

Lincolnshire and Surrey Win at County Finals

Defending champions Lincolnshire today joined the hunt for 2012 honours in the England Golf women’s County Finals when they beat Lancashire 5-4 in a tense finish at East Devon Golf Club. In the day’s other matches, Surrey defeated Buckinghamshire 8-1 while Essex and Gloucestershire halved. It means that after two day’s play Essex and Gloucestershire lead the way with 1½ points apiece. Lincolnshire, Lancashire and Surrey each have a point while Buckinghamshire have yet to score.

Lincolnshire girls’ champion Emily Slater secured the point for her team when she birdied the last to win her game 2up. County captain Cindy Ireland commented: “She’s only 15 and there was a lot of pressure on her but she rose to the occasion and played the 18th brilliantly.”

Lincolnshire, who lost their match on the opening day, edged to a narrow 2-1 lead after the morning foursomes. It was to prove a crucial advantage when the singles points were shared.  “It was all very close, I have no nails left and I’m a lot greyer!” said Cindy. “I’m delighted for the team, they were disappointed yesterday but they picked themselves up and came back and did the business.”

Gloucestershire captain Karen Rix described the tie between her team and Essex as: “A stunning, stunning match.” Her players fought back in the foursomes to share the morning points when, at one time, it looked as if they would lose all three. “It was the most amazing fightback and all credit to the girls.”

As the afternoon unfolded, in ever-strengthening winds, the singles were also shared. Jo Hodge secured the point which guaranteed Gloucestershire at least a half, while it fell to Essex 16-year-old, Paige Kemp, to avert defeat for her team. She held on to win her game against girl international Shelby Smart on the last hole and ensure the match was halved.

“It was another nailbiting finish, but Paige got the point for the half,” said Essex captain Amanda Colegate-Herbert. “It was a good result at the end of the day and there was some outstanding golf out there in the wind.”

Surrey pushed their way into the reckoning when they swept aside Buckinghamshire, losing just one foursomes game all day. “It’s absolutely wonderful, we are delighted,” said county captain Ann Gems.

“We have a great bunch of youngsters, together with experienced players, and they came up trumps today in tricky conditions. There was some fine golf and the matches were very good, we had to fight all the way.

“They’re all on a high now and looking forward to tomorrow,” added Ann. Tomorrow Gloucestershire will play Buckinghamshire, Surrey take on Lancashire and Lincolnshire play Essex.

Results:-

Lincolnshire 5 - Lancashire 4;   
Essex 4½ - Gloucestershire 4½;    Buckinghamshire 1 - Surrey 8


Day 3 - Wednesday, 19th September 2012

Essex and Golucestershire Move Ahead at County Finals

Essex and Gloucestershire both won their matches today at women’s County Finals at East Devon Golf Club and extended their lead at the top of the table. Essex, who are playing in the Finals for the first time in 20 years, defeated Lincolnshire 6½-2½. Gloucestershire, meanwhile, beat Buckinghamshire 8-1.

The results mean the two teams are neck and neck in the hunt for honours, with 2½ points apiece from the three matches played so far this week.  Lancashire and Surrey, who halved today, both have 1½ points; Lincolnshire have 1 point and Buckinghamshire have yet to score.

Gloucestershire captain Karen Rix was delighted to see her team’s youngsters came to the fore in today’s win. Victoria Wakeley-Jones and Alex Saunders played when more senior members were rested and were part of the clean sweep in the singles. 

This was the first match of the week for 15-year-old Victoria, in her first County Finals; while Alex, 17, made her debut only last year.  “It’s a long week and I decided to rest some of the senior players,” said Karen. “It paid off and I am really, really pleased that the youngsters stepped up to the mark.”

Surrey’s Nicola Taylor produced a touch of magic to halve her match – and help her team to their halved result. Nicola was two down with two to play, but won both remaining holes when she chipped in for an eagle three on the 17th and hit the pin on 18 en route to a tap-in birdie.

Surrey captain Ann Gems said: “It was terribly exciting and it kept us going. Some of the other matches were down and it picked us up.”  Her verdict, that a halved match was a fair result, was shared by Lancashire captain Val Moran. “It was an incredibly exciting day and some of the golf has been spectacular. I’ve got a great bunch of players and they did incredibly well,” she said.

Essex may have been absent from County Finals for two decades but they’ve made an impact on their return. “We’ve got a very good team at the moment and we’re doing what we hoped to achieve,” said county captain Amanda Colegate-Herbert.  They got off to the best possible start, winning all three foursomes, and then produced a strong singles performance to take their point.

Their team includes Charlotte Thompson who played in the Ricoh Women’s British Open last week and who today held her opponent to a half.  However, Lincolnshire’s Emily Slater produced a highlight for her team – with a hole-in-one on the 131-yard 4th which helped her to an individual win.

Results:-

Gloucestershire 8 - Buckinghamshire 1;    Surrey 4½ - Lancashire 4½;    Lincolnshire 2½ - Essex 6½


Day 4 - Thursday, 20th September 2012

Essex Lead in County Finals Showdown

Essex took the outright lead today at women’s County Finals at East Devon Golf Club and hold the advantage going into tomorrow’s deciding matches.They will win the title if they manage at least a half with their opponents, Lancashire. But if Essex lose, the teams will be tied and the championship will be decided on a countback.

Gloucestershire, also, are hoping to be in the reckoning. They were knocked out of a share of the lead when they lost today but, if there’s a countback they’ll be in the mix - provided they beat their final day opponents, Surrey.  In today’s matches, Lincolnshire beat Surrey 5-4, Essex beat Buckinghamshire 5½-3½, and Lancashire beat Gloucestershire 6-3. It means Essex have 3½ points from four matches, Gloucestershire and Lancashire have 2½ points apiece, Lincolnshire have 2, Surrey 1½ and Buckinghamshire 0.

Essex captain Amanda Colegate-Herbert said: “This is a great position to be in and we’ll be putting our best team out and going for a win.”  Her team produced something of everything today in their match today: a hole in one from Kelly Martin – and yet another tense finish before the result was decided.

Kelly had her ace – her third – with a beautifully struck five-iron into the fiendishly difficult 10th green. Its three sloping tiers have played havoc with any number of good shots, but Kelly’s ball landed softly behind the flag and rolled back into the hole.  She went on to win her match 7/6. It was one of three comfortable singles wins for Essex, but Buckinghamshire – who led 2-1 after the foursomes - challenged them right to the end of the day.

Essex needed one point from the last two games on the course. Paige Kemp made certain of a halved result for the team when she secured a half in her game. But the win was assured only when Sam Lovell produced a textbook par on the last to maintain her one up advantage.

Meanwhile Lancashire-Gloucestershire clash was an epic, with the advantage swinging backwards and forwards between the two teams. Early on it was Lancashire who had the initiative, then Gloucestershire took charge, only for Lancashire to take the point with a fighting finish.

Their last three players all won on the 18th green with Eloise Healey – who celebrated her 15th birthday today – sealed the team’s win with her point.

“It was a real roller coaster,” said Lancashire captain Val Moran. “The scores kept changing all the time and it was so exciting. Now, we’ve just got to do the business tomorrow!”

Lincolnshire were trailing 2-1 after the morning foursomes but came back strongly in the singles, winning three, halving two and losing only one.  “We needed to get halves from each of the last two matches on the course and we did it,” said team captain Cindy Ireland. “It was another nailbiting finish!”

The team are defending champions but realised yesterday that they would not be able to retain the title. “Now we want to finish as high as possible for pride,” said Cindy.

Tomorrow’s matches: Lancashire v Essex, Buckinghamshire v Lincolnshire, Gloucestershire v Surrey.

Results:-

Surrey 4 -  Lincolnshire 5;      Essex 5½ - Buckinghamshire 4;     Lancashire 6 -  Gloucestershire 3


Day 5 - Friday, 21st September 2012 - Morning

Lancashire Put The Pressure on at County Finals

Lancashire put the pressure on Essex this morning when they won all three foursomes at women’s County Finals at East Devon.  Essex are the championship leaders – but Lancashire can beat them in the race to the title if they win today’s match 6-3.

The North region champions were quickly off the blocks and county captain Val Moran said: “It’s a dream start – but we’ve got to keep it up in the singles.”  Gloucestershire, who need a big win over Surrey today to have a chance of being in the final mix, won their foursomes 2-1. Meanwhile, Lincolnshire beat Buckinghamshire 3-0.

Foursomes results:-

Lancashire 3 - Essex 0;    Buckinghamshire 0 - Lincolnshire 3;    Gloucestershire 2 - Surrey 1


Day 5 - Friday, 21st September 2012 - Afternoon

Essex Hang on for Victory at County Finals

Essex are England’s champion county for the first time in 33 years. They won the title by a tiny margin on countback at the end of a tense but exciting finale to women's County Finals at East Devon Golf Club.  County captain Amanda Colegate-Herbert said: “What a great team, I can’t say how wonderful they are – but they do like to make things nerve wracking!

Their victory marked a triumphant return to County Finals, 23 years after their last appearance and 33 years after that last win. It came on a day which began with many possible outcomes and which had spectators wishing for calculators as they totted up games won and lost.

Essex were in the driving seat at the start of play. They were tournament leaders with 3½ points from four matches and a win or a halved match against today’s opponents, Lancashire, would mean victory. But a loss would force a countback – and if Gloucestershire beat their opponents, Surrey, they would also be involved in the reckoning.

Lancashire came out all guns blazing and won all three morning foursomes to put the pressure on. But Essex rallied in the singles and although they were beaten on the day, the margin of 5½-3½ was just in their favour. Both teams had 3½ points from the week’s five matches and when it came to the countback of game points, including halved games, Essex had amassed 26½, while Lancashire had 26.

Amanda paid particular tribute to the half point won this afternoon by Ashleigh Greenham, who birdied the last hole to draw level in her match. “Everyone contributed and there were lot outstanding points during the week, but that was a great result under pressure,” she said.  Among the spectators watching the Essex victory were two players who were members of the team which won the 1979 title: Pat Garner and Philippa Deman.

Lancashire finished the week as runners-up and county captain Val Moran said: “While the team are disappointed we are very proud of their performance and we’ve been delighted by the play of some of the younger members who we have brought into the team. It’s been a wonderful week.  “It was all very close and very exciting and that’s the virtue of the points system – but it’s very nerve wracking!”

The Essex/Lancashire match was played first and there were no celebrations immediately after it finished. Instead the attention turned to Gloucestershire’s progress in their match and the question of whether they would join the countback.

They started the day well, with two wins in the foursomes, but their challenge fizzled out in the singles. Surrey dominated the afternoon, winning five of the six games to win the match 6-3. The result left Gloucestershire with 2½ points from the week’s matches and out of the tie for the top.

In the day’s other match Lincolnshire – the 2011 champions – beat Buckinghamshire 9-0. Captain Cindy Ireland commented: “It was a great win to end the week. We’ll go home feeling buoyed up and that we’ve done Lincolnshire proud.”

Final placings:-
1 Essex (East region) 3½ points, 26½ games
2 Lancashire (North) 3½ points, 26 games
3 Lincolnshire (Midlands North) 3 points
4 Surrey (South) 2½ points, 25 games
5 Gloucestershire (South West) 2½ points, 23½ games
6 Buckinghamshire (Midlands South) 0 points

Results:-

Lancashire 5½ -  Essex 3½;   Buckinghamshire 0 - Lincolnshire 9;    Gloucestershire 3 -  Surrey 6