Diss Golf Club – Sunday 5th August 2018
Team: Jack Brown (Brampton Heath), Tom Burgh (Peterborough Milton), Richard Dalton (Overstone Park), Ryan Genner (Overstone Park), Jamie Powell (Brampton Heath), Taylor Sargeant (Kingsthorpe), Owen Watts (Northamptonshire County) and Chris White (Peterborough Milton).
Team Manager: Gary Hardy (Kingsthorpe)
Our 4th game of the season took us to Diss Golf Club for an extremely hot match against table-topping Suffolk, who are undefeated so far this season. Suffolk have this season adopted our approach to venue selection and now play all of their matches at Diss, so we knew we would be in for a difficult task to find our first points of the season. The match report will be slightly shorter than normal due to the captain stepping in last minute after Miles Mudge was called up to the first team.
Taylor Sargeant and Jamie Powell played first against Jed Seeley and Sam Byford. The game was closely contested and after 7 holes were all square until the Northants pair lost a couple of holes in quick succession to go 2 down through 12 and then another 2 in quick succession to go down 4&3. The scoreline didn’t reflect how close the game was but it certainly seemed Diss was an easy course to get on a bad run… more of this later.
Owen Watts and Tom Burgh were paired together for the first time and played Jasper Johnson and Charlie Taylor. Owen was looking to continue his impressive run of not losing a foursomes match all season and Tom looking for a regular foursomes partner. Again this match was closely contested and again was all square through 7 holes and again found the Northants pair 2 down through 12. This time though the Northants pair were determined to turn it around and emerged victorious having finished birdie, birdie to win 1up. This pair definitely has the look of a future first team combination.
Jack Brown and Ryan Genner were paired against Josh Robertson and Adam Sheldrake. Just for a change the Northants pair were all square through 7 and losing after 12. I wonder if our back 9 only practice round helped or hindered us in our preparation? Jack and Ryan are the epitome of the never say die attitude and battled hard to make it to the 18th one down. After a long-ish drive on 18 from Ryan, Jack found the middle of the green on the par 5, around 25 feet from the pin. Ryan duly converted the eagle putt and the pair rescued a half point. Thrilling scenes which will be one of the only occasions this season where a fist pump would have been considered appropriate…
Last out were Richard Dalton and Captain Chris White against local player Chris Bartrum and James Tyler. I was informed before the game by one of the Suffolk officials that we would be giving them “a damn good listening to”. So far the only advantage I’ve found for having a dodgy foot is that you can get away with walking much slower than your opponents without arousing suspicion. Richard and I started well and were all square through 5 holes, before losing 4 on the bounce. This part of the course had not been kind to any Northants pair. At 4 down we were hanging on for dear life when suddenly birdies at 14 and 15 got us back to 1 down (we never give up either), but the damage in the middle of the round was hard to undo. We made a bit of a mess of 16 and could only halve the par 5 17th in 5 so ended up going down 2&1, still the news from the rest of the games was not as bad as it had looked only 5 holes previously.
Suffolk 2.5 – Northants 1.5
Taylor Sargeant played his morning opponent Jed Seeley out first and Taylor promised me a point, after racing to 3 up after 3, Taylor was never out of the lead all the way round. He eventually took the game 2up so it again shows the importance of a good start and a good player to lead you out.
Jamie Powell played his other morning opponent Sam Byford and lost 4&2. I may have mentioned previously that I have been previously informed that you shouldn’t be able to lose by this scoreline… Jamie said afterwards “he was quite good to be fair” and the feeling of being outplayed rather than hard done by was most appropriate in this instance.
Owen Watts ended up playing Suffolk’s best player, Chris Bartrum, round his home course. I don’t think I’ve been that kind in selecting Owen’s opponents this year, but it never ever seems to matter to him. Owen got into an early lead against the experienced Suffolk player and looked really good in doing it. In a game of the highest calibre Owen found himself 1up with 2 to play and finished birdie, birdie. Sadly his opponent finished eagle, birdie so the game was halved. I have been very complimentary about Owen this year and yet he continues to impress me, I hope the first team will come knocking before too long.
Tom Burgh played James Tyler in match 4 and was in complete control for 16 holes. Tom was 2up with 2 to play before the
Ryan Genner played Charlie Taylor in match 5 and did what does best by winning a close game 1up. Ryan seems to be the Ian Poulter of the 2nd team and he always delivers, he is a superb team player and always gives everything. What more can you ask
I ended up taking on Jasper Johnson in game 6 for my 2nd appearance of the season. Having finally fixed my putting after a mid-season wobble I am actually starting to feel vaguely competitive again. This was a close game and was nip and tuck all the way round. Suddenly after a ghost golf ball disappearance on 14, I found myself 2 down and to put it politely, relatively annoyed. Aided by a functioning putter I made a rude up and down on 15 for a half and managed to sneak a win on 16. 1 down with 2 to play and all to play for, my birdie putt on 17 slid by the edge of the hole before we both hit good drives up 18. My 8 iron finished around 20 feet from the pin while Jasper missed the green left then didn’t play a great chip to around 10 feet. Having just missed my eagle, Jasper had the audacity to walk in the putt from 10 feet. Don’t walk putts in, it’s not ok.
Jack Brown took on Josh Robertson and fell behind early. 3 or 4 down after 8 holes is such a long way back against an opponent of this quality. Jack is dogged and resilient and never gets beaten by many. He made a good effort at a comeback but was too far behind, eventually falling 2&1.
Richard Dalton played Adam Sheldrake in the final game. In a similar fashion to Jamie Powell earlier, Richard admitted his opponent “was quite good” and he also felt he was hanging on for most of the way round, eventually going down 3&1.
Suffolk 5 – Northants 3
This was the first game of the season where we didn’t get the sense of being particularly hard done by to lose, but perhaps we were just outplayed. We have fixed our problems with the foursomes but the main difference between the sides was that Suffolk had 2 or 3 players who have all played first team this year.
We move on to our last fixture of the season at Kingsthorpe in September and it feels like a good time to try a few different and much younger faces.