The second League match of the year saw the Essex County Team travel to the superb venue of Hadley Wood Golf Club to take on current League leaders Hertfordshire.
After a close fought away win against Middlesex and a home win against Bedfordshire, Herts were in top spot with a maximum 4 points, whilst Essex, having played out a draw at BB&O needed to win this match to stand any chance of winning the league.
Hot off a fantastic win in the Eastern Counties Foursomes at Seacroft some 6 weeks earlier the Essex side were in confident mood and keeping the same pairings in the foursomes charged out of the blocks. After 7 holes Essex were up in 3 and all square in one albeit never more than the odd hole ahead. Herts were not in the mood for lying down however and by the 12th hole had turned things around and were themselves ahead in 3 and all square in one. With some cracking shot making and excellent putting on very slick and tricky greens, Essex fought back to just edge the morning session by the odd point.
The afternoon singles started with Herts firing on all cylinders. After 7 holes they were up in 5, down in 2 and all square in one. The only bright spark for Essex at that point was Jamie Richards who, after 6 holes, was 5 under par and 5 up, the Spider putter was on fire!
By the 12th hole things were slightly better with Essex now up in 2 games and all square in 3 and this gradual pressure from the Essex side began to tell. The first point of the afternoon went to Mike Gilbert, coming back from 1 down after 15 to win 2 up, closely followed by Jamie Richards 3 and 1 win. County Captain Jay Beisser showing grit to cling on to a one hole win.
So, with the score now 5 ½ to 3 ½ Essex needed just the one point to clinch victory. With Curtis Knipes and Callum Pipe succumbing to their opponents, it was left to Will Percival to secure victory with a solid 3 & 2 victory over the very useful Ben Harman.
With further wins by Andy May over Herts number one Luke Colgate, and Ali Plumb beating Tony Wilkins on the 18th , Essex ran out overall winners by the flattering score of 8 ½ to 3 ½ . It was a much tougher match than the score suggests.
Essex Team was....
Jamie Richards and Curtis Knipes (Abridge), Jay Beisser County Captain (Rayleigh), Michael Gilbert and Ali Plumb (Chelmsford), Andy May (Boyce Hill), Will Percival (Orsett), and Callum Pipe (Braintree)
Captain Jay praised Herts for a hard fought match played in good spirit and to Hadley Wood for a course in truly wonderful condition with hospitality second to none.
Next match is a home tie against Middlesex at Chelmsford on 23rd July
Phil Hulse, County Team Manager