Team: Graham Bott (Cold Ashby), Jack Brown (Kingsthorpe), Fraser Carnihan (Overstone), Ryan Genner (Overstone), Lee Hitchcock (Northampton), Miles Mudge (Staverton), Taylor Sargeant (Kingsthorpe) and Chris White (Peterborough Milton)
Team Manager: Gary Hardy
A lovely sunny day greeted us for the first game of the season at St. Ives with a team full of optimism following a decent pre-season. A number of late pull-outs as late as Saturday evening had meant the team wasn’t quite as expected but everyone involved had played first team at some stage. For a non-playing captain I do seem to end up playing a lot and I must admit to growing somewhat frustrated. As usual, when playing, the report is somewhat shorter than usual.
Miles Mudge and Ryan Genner beat Kevin Taylor and Alfie Guy-Pinkney 5&3 in match 1. Miles was unlucky to miss out on a place in the first team after a successful season last season and Ryan hasn’t lost a foursomes game in many years. This result was nicely inevitable.
Taylor Sargeant and Jack Brown lost to Owen Meeds and Isaac Rowlands by the same 5&3 score line. The Northants pair were slow out of the blocks and never really got going until near the end, which would hopefully help them in the singles.
Myself and Graham Bott played Josh Stimson and Spencer Burlingham in game 3 and had one of the more frustrating games you can have on a course. Absolutely nothing in it the whole way and 1up with 4 to play, then lost the lot. 2&1 loss.
The last pair out of Northants were the highly experienced duo of Fraser Carnihan and Lee Hitchcock who played against Matt Hartley and Jack Plumb. The Northants pair played some really good stuff and were already 3 under par and dormie 4 up when Fraser holed a wedge for 70 yards for a 2 on 15. 5&3, a popular score line in the morning.
Miles Mudge playing Cambridgeshire’s Captain and home member Kevin Taylor. For the 2nd time in the day Miles beat Kev round his home track to maintain his excellent 2019 season. Having played 2 matches for the first team in pre-season and scored maximum points, Miles added another 2 points here to make it 6 out of 6. I literally cannot ask any more of Miles and he is a wonderful asset to the team.
Lee Hitchcock took on Alfie Guy-Pinkney but injured his hip quite early on. Lee had to resort to hitting 2 iron off the tee round a golf course built for driver. Lee put in a valiant performance and played through the pain but ended up going down 2&1. Due credit to Lee for continuing to play when in clear discomfort, he is clearly made of strong stuff.
Fraser Carnihan played Owen Meeds in game 3 and despite not being at his best managed to win the last 2 holes from dormie 2 down to force a half. Fraser holed a 20-footer on 17, like a real man, which forced his opponent to miss a much shorter putt for the match, before hitting the longest drive on 18 on to force his opponent to make a mistake and lose his ball. Even if you are not at your best, you should never give up.
Ryan Genner lost a close game 4 to Issac Rowlands 1 down. Ryan is another resilient character who never ever gives up. This was a nip and tuck game that could have gone either way, and despite having a chance on 18 for birdie to halve the game, this time it just slid by.
Taylor Sargeant, playing lower down the order than he had become accustomed, took on home player Josh Stimson and was keen to make up for the morning round, wasting no time in racing in to a nice lead. At one stage Taylor got to 4up and held off a late comeback. No dramas, 2&1 win for Taylor.
Jack Brown played debutant Jake Plumb and looked re-invigorated from the morning. Jack has recently started playing and practicing quite a bit and has always been deadly around the greens. He eased to a 3&2 win without dropping any shots. Jack is also to be commended for only being asked to play at around 6pm the day before and saying yes without hesitation. Jack was due to be playing Hollingsworth, but has been round long enough to remember the pecking order of golf. Country, county, club.
Graham Bott, the latest of late reserves, coming in at 9pm on Saturday, played Spence Burlingham in game 7. Graham hasn’t played much and was a reluctant reserve, but would never let the county down, so stepped in. Graham got ahead early, but was pegged back and eventually lost 4&2. Not Graham’s best day on the greens and chuck in a tiny bit of rust and it was a difficult task.
If you can’t tell by the way, this means the score is now 5.5 – 5.5…. all down to the captain.
I took on fellow golf club secretary, Matt Hartley. No excuses, totally out played and easily beaten 5&4. I’ve hardly played this year and not been fully fit for golf since 2016 so another inevitable result. I’m the first to admit I’m not currently playing to the standard, which makes it even more annoying to keep getting forced to play.
Cambridgeshire 6.5 Northamptonshire 5.5
County golf can give you some of the greatest golfing days you’ll ever have but sometimes afterwards, as captain, you can’t help feeling a bit sad.