Seacroft Golf Club

19th - 20th May 2018

The annual pilgrimage to the east coast for the Eastern Counties Foursomes event at the wonderful Seacroft golf links took place on the weekend of 18-20th of May.
This event puts together 9 counties for an exhausting series of matches over two days. The entire weekend is foursomes format, with 2 rounds per day and in each round are triangular matches against 2 counties.

The usual Anglian League opponents of Leicestershire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire are joined by Bedfordshire, Essex and BB&O.
The golf course was in fantastic condition for practise on Friday, but due to the wet winter and warmer spring the rough was thicker than we had seen in the past, putting a premium of straight hitting and as always the greens we running really well. With a warm, sunny and breezy weekend forecast all was set fair.

Saturday AM

Saturday morning matches were against Bedfordshire and Leicestershire and pairings of Mikey Chambers and Michael Farr, Lee Hitchcock and Fraser Carnihan, Miles Mudge and Jamie Milligan, Chris White and Tom Burgh, Charlie Salter and Liam McNeela were ready for battle against two counties we had already done battle with this season.

This session more than any other over the weekend, it seemed that our opponents were holing more putts than we were, it became a theme of the morning watching on several occasions two pairs holing from outside us then missing our own. That being said Charlie and Liam were in constant control of their match, running out winners in both their matches, of the other pairs only Lee and Fraser were able to claim a full point from any of the other matches, added to this were half points from Mikey and Michael, Chris and Tom and Jamie and Miles, we gained 4.5 points from a possible 10.

Saturday PM

Saturday afternoon pitted us against two Anglian league opponents in Suffolk and Norfolk – this turned out to be afternoon to forget. Watching from the sidelines it is very difficult to get a full picture of the ebb and flow of matchplay golf, but almost from the start it looked like all the players were struggling to get going. To their credit Jamie and Miles turned matches around from losing positions and gained a win and a half, apart from that there were halves in one of their matches for Mikey and Liam and Lee and Fraser, so a total of 2.5 points from a possible 10, from a set of matches that, on paper at least, should have been our strongest.

At the end of day 1 Northamptonshire sat at the bottom of the table, half a point behind Norfolk and a full point behind Bedfordshire.

Sunday AM

Sunday began in almost identical conditions, again starting from the 11th tee, this time against BB&O and Cambridgeshire. The Captain decided to change two of the pairings, in the hope this might be the catalyst to an improved day – with the threat of the dreaded Wooden Spoon hanging over us, it was crucial to get some wins on the board. So Mikey and Liam played together and Charlie and Michael – a straight swap.

As it turned out the mornings games were, like the weather, very similar to Saturday morning. A bit of a struggle and a general feeling of not holing our ‘fair share’. In the context of all this, you forget somewhat about your opponents and in the Cambridgeshire ranks, one of their pairs would go on to complete the perfect 8 out of 8 record the weekend – our unfortunate pair to come up against these players were Charlie and Michael – they would however win their match against the BB&O pair.

Lee & Fraser had gone through their now traditional poor start, struggling over the first 4 holes, but rallied and with a combination of excellent driving and good short game, would turn both matches around to gain 2 points. The other positive of the morning was another full point for Jamie and Miles, who at this point had turned into a married couple – with moments of fist pumps, tempered with the odd cold shoulder or two towards each other.

So another slightly disappointing series with 4 out of 10 points gained. Sunday afternoon would be crucial…

Sunday PM

Unfortunately, we would be paired against traditionally two of the strongest teams in Essex and Lincolnshire. By now we had leap-frogged Norfolk into 8th place, but only but half a point.

After another fantastic buffet lunch in the clubhouse, we made our way back to the far end of the course for another 11th tee start. Further changes made by the captain, included putting himself in the line up – Tom Burgh had struggled in the morning matches and was relieved to be released from duty. So Graham Bott would partner Mikey Chambers and Liam McNeela would play with Chris White – spreading the youth/experience divide somewhat…

The whole team and support knew what was needed from the afternoons results and there was definite air of confidence in the team from somewhere. Charlie and Michael led the team out, followed by Jamie and Miles, Lee and Fraser, Chris and Liam, closing with Mikey and Graham. I can’t talk so much about the afternoons play after this, other than my own match – which I could talk all about, the highlight however came at our very first hole – after a great drive from Mikey, we pondered a 272 yard shot to the green, agreeing that it was worth the risk of getting close to the green, I proceeded to hit an awful, block, high floating cut, that would land out of bounds….Mikey looked delighted and I could see the thoughts of the next 4 hours flowing through his mind. Mikey dropped a ball a hit a fantastic 3 wood that would finish some 15 feet away from the flag – naturally I knocked in the putt for a Par 5, the Lincolnshire pair (which included their Captain, Steve Brattan) looked delighted, to get a half – for Essex who made a 4, it was less of a problem…  

Through 8 holes it was clear that the boys ahead were putting in a sterling performance and herculean effort, to ensure that spoon didn’t come back to Northamptonshire. Jamie and Miles would achieve 1.5 points that afternoon, which Michael and Charlie added another 2 soon after. Lee and Fraser (after another poor start to their round) had fought back to claim a win and Liam and Chris got another win and a half  - leaving just the Captain and Mikey on the course. The Essex pair, had both points with 3 holes to play, after a sensational burst of 7 holes from the start, leaving us 1 down against Lincolnshire with 3 to play. A couple of halves later, we stood on the 10th tee still one down – fortunately my first decent iron shot of the day put some pressure on the Lincolnshire pair, who would miss the green left and fail to pitch it particularly close – leaving Mikey and 18 footer for a half. Mikey had played some excellent golf that afternoon, particularly with his driver the last 7 holes and had managed the Captain round well. His putt looked in all the way, but failed to drop…fortunately the Lincolnshire player failed also to hole his, so a final half point to our total. 6.5 points in the afternoon! The only county to beat Essex in the series of matches – Essex would be crowned champions of the weekend just a few minutes later and we also managed to avoid the spoon – in fact finishing the weekend tied 7th, with Lincolnshire.

So another fantastic weekend complete, with lots of sunburnt and tired looking faces – a weekend we should eventually be pleased with, at the summit of the comeback, but equally disappointed with Saturday’s performance. This group of players are far too good to be battling to avoid last place.

Full Results

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