BOYS UNDER 18 TEAM
Essex under 18s v The Rayleigh Club
At The Rayleigh Club, Hullbridge
On Sunday 12 March 2017
On a cloudy day at Hullbridge a combined team of Essex under 18s and under 16s kicked off the 2017 season with a friendly contest against The Rayleigh Club’s Thorndon Cup aspirants.
At lunch after the seven morning nine hole foursomes matches there was little between the two teams the points being shared 3½ - 3½ with four of the matches won by 1 up.
The afternoon’s lead singles match paired Michael Gilbert with Jay Beisser, two of the county’s best players and was an evenly contested affair with never more than one hole separating the two players until the 18th hole. As the afternoon progressed the Essex lads pressed home an advantage and once the final putt had been holed the singles scored 10½ – 3½ in favour of the County
Match of the day was undoubtedly between James Butler and veteran Ray Weidner at least 50 years his senior. It was not until the 17th hole when James holed an unlikely downhill putt from off the green that much to his relief he finally took the lead.
Callum Newton continued his record from last season and finished the day with 100% success as did Ben Humphrey and Harvey Payne for Essex and Steve Weidner for The Rayleigh Club, so well done to those guys.
Our grateful thanks go to Jamie Saitch and Dave Topley for their organisation and making the course available as well as The Rayleigh Club staff for keeping the players fed and watered. A most enjoyable contest played in just the right spirit which we look forward to continuing in 2018.
Essex under 18/16 v Hertfordshire under 18/16
for the Cheshunt Salver
Upminster Golf Club on 3 April 2017
Historically the early season contest between these two counties for the Cheshunt Salver have been closely fought affairs, but this year’s annual event at Upminster Golf Club proved to be a very one sided encounter.
Hertfordshire arrived with as strong a team as they have fielded for many years which included England Internationals Harry Goddard and Danny Daniels. By way of extreme contrast Essex had a number of leading absentees due to coaching commitments.
With the morning foursomes going very much in Hertfordshire’s favour the challenge of pulling back the deficit in the afternoon singles proved rather too much for the Essex boys. Although Harry Robson managed to finish the day with a 100% success and Alex English went home undefeated, other heavy losses served to illustrate the gulf between the two sides on the day.
For the Essex team this was a “bad day at the office” and our players are very much better than the result suggests, but as always there were plenty of lessons learnt highlighting areas to work on before the next county match.
Our thanks go to Upminster GC for providing a course in excellent condition and food and sustenance for the teams and officials throughout the day.
2017 Junior Foursomes Championships
At Ham Manor Golf Club, West Sussex on Thursday 17 August 2017
The annual England Golf SE Group Junior team and pairs championship was held this year on the South coast at Ham Manor Golf Club in West Sussex in weather that was more autumnal than summer. The championship day started in cool rainy, but comparatively still conditions and ended hot and sunny with strong gusts of wind making ball control tricky. The format is scratch stroke play foursomes with each pair from a team of six players playing 36 holes and all scores counting towards the team competition. Running in parallel with this is the individual pairs competition for the pair with the lowest 36 hole score.
Despite having key players away at the British Boys Open in the absence of BB&O and Hertfordshire the Essex team looked to have a real chance of success in this competition. A quirk in the conditions of the competition enable manager Steve Golding to take seven players and give opportunities to Harvey’s Sullivan and Payne who played alongside junior ‘veteran’ Alex English in the morning and afternoon respectively.
At lunch Essex were joint leaders and full of optimism, but foursomes is the most difficult of golf formats and a mark of this is that on the day only one pair in the field was able to match the course par score of 70. Eventually when all the scores were in the top five teams were separated by one stroke with Kent holding top spot with a team total of 39 over and Essex one stroke further back on 40 strokes over, but relegated to fifth place on countback. Sixth place team Hampshire being some eight strokes further adrift.
Showing their usual levels of ‘never say die’ determination Liam Frances and Callum Newton were the leading Essex pairing finishing fourth overall with morning and afternoon scores of 75. Inevitably the Essex team were left mulling over what might have been, but from the sideline it was clear that on the day club selection and course management were key to winning this competition with one double bogy saved being the difference between first and fifth. No doubt three other teams were thinking the same thing. So near and yet so far.
Yet again our thanks again go to Martin McDermott, Michael Rees, Bob Blowers and the rest of the England Golf championship committee for putting this event together and to Ham Manor Golf Club and its members for the use of their excellent golf facility.