Essex County Team’s 3rd match of the campaign saw our first Home fixture against Middlesex at Chelmsford Golf Club on cloudy day with a chill in the air.
The Chelmsford course looked in immaculate condition as always and the Essex side were raring to go in their quest to top the League for the first time this season.
After a good start with a draw at Frilford Heath and a great win at Hadley Wood, Essex were lying second behind leaders Hertfordshire who had played a game more. So a win today would ensure top spot, however in order to stay ahead of BB&O who also had 3 points, it was vital to win, and by as large a margin as possible as ‘goal difference’ comes into play in the event of a tie.
Essex started at a sprint and after 8 holes of the morning foursomes all 4 matches were comfortably in our favour. So a morning whitewash was a distinct possibility. Three of these were turned into points for Essex, but a spirited fight back by the Middx top pairing of James Ellis and Tommy King against Andy May and Michael Gilbert saw them win the last 3 holes to turn a 2 hole deficit into an unlikely win. Score at lunch three one to the home side.
The afternoon singles set off in darkening skies and after an hour or so play had to be suspended due to torrential rain and rumbles of thunder. With the greens rapidly becoming unplayable shelter was taken and doubt as to whether the match would get finished. However in the true tradition of English weather the storm passed and the quality of the Chelmsford greens drainage became apparent as within a very short time all the waterlogged greens cleared and play resumed.
The morning trend of dominance by the Essex players continued into the afternoon with the home side showing how to putt on the tricky but superb Chelmsford greens. After another ding dong battle, Tommy King took the first point of the afternoon for Middlesex against Michael Gilbert but then the Essex victories came thick and fast. By late afternoon with Essex six one up in the singles only Ali Plumb was left out on the course. After 10 holes, his young opponent had opened up a 4 hole lead. Ali typifying the Essex spirit, fought back to level the match on the 15th and was looking to ensure another Essex point when the heavens opened and again flooded the greens, making the completion of the game impossible and each player agreed on an honourable half.
Another great performance from Essex now puts us top of the League and with only a home match against Bedfordshire on 3rd September to come the title is now a realistic target.
Team: Michael Gilbert, Ali Plumb, Arron Edwards-Hill and Brandon Meads (Chelmsford), County Captain Jay Beisser (Rayleigh), Andy May (Boyce Hill), Will Percival (Orsett), Jamie Richards (Abridge)
Phil Hulse, County Team Manager