Teams were announced for this fixture against Norfolk 2nds to be played at Whittlebury Park Golf Club on 2nd June 2024.
On paper this looked to be a very strong team with a mix of youth and experience. However golf is not played on paper.
The morning foursomes started in promising fashion with early leads for the 4 matches. Unfortunately this didn't continue and match 1 saw Jack Brown and Alec Francis in a real tussle against their Norfolk opponents. The match went all the way and ended with honours saved and a half point to each side,
Match 2 saw the 'experienced' stalwart Richard Dalton paired with Liam McNeela. After a few early wobbles Richard and Liam closed out their match with a 2 & 1 win. 
Next up saw Sam Gilkes and Ben Hawkins playing the Norfolk Captain and his partner. Ben played a superb shot from the bunker just short of the 2nd green and Sam holed a long putt to put them 1 up. However the Norfolk pairing then turned the screws and ran out with a comfortable win. 
The final Foursomes match saw Carl Sainsbury and Jacob Williams paired together. They played well as did the Norfolk pair and Carl and Jacob were 1 down playing the last. Jacob's tee shot was straight down the middle but about 40 yards short of the corner of Blue 9. Carl attempted to go for the green over the trees but alas this didn't work out well. A 2 up win for Norfolk.
So, our strong team found themselves 2.5 - 1.5 down after the morning Foursomes.
This called for a few words from Captain Sam to 'gee up' the team for the afternoon singles.
The afternoon singles looked to be closely fought and in match 1 Jack saw his 3 up lead quickly evaporate and he fought hard to birdie 17 (blue 8) to go 1 up. He held the lead and halved 18 to win 1 up.
Game 2 saw Alec playing well for a 3 up lead, however he lost 11 and 12 to make his match tense and he was 1 down with 2 to play. Alec bravely fought back to half his match and keep the momentum going for Northants. 
Next up was Liam who had found some rich form and he closed out his match 4 & 3, showing all his big match experience.
Sam at 4 found his opponent playing very well. He was not a great chipper so he hardly missed a green, played really steady golf and gave Norfolk hope in holding on to their morning lead.
Match 5 saw Richard appearing to be well in control of his match. However his opponent had other ideas and closed to within 1 hole. However Richard has a 'never say die' attitude and finished the game 1 up for another point to Northants.
Ben Hawkins was next playing the Norfolk Captain Pete who has a good record against us. However Ben played some superb golf to hold a 3 up lead by the 12th. Pete pulled one hole back but Ben held on for an excellent singles win 2 & 1.
Sixth up was Jacob who was also playing good golf against an experienced Norfolk opponent. Jacob looked set for a win, going 2 up with 2 to play. However his opponent birdied 17 with a brilliant chip and on 18 both players were just off the green in 2 but Matt chipped stone dead with Jacob leaving a sis foot putt. The putt lipped out and the match halved. 
In the final singles, the experience of Carl came to the fore. He found his old form and seemed to be enjoying the day, closing out his match 5 & 4, 
This completed a brilliant comeback with Northants winning the singles 6 - 2 and the match 7.5 - 4.5. Well done to Captain Sam and the team for showing what it takes to win these County matches.
Many thanks to Whittlebury Park Management for allowing us to host this match and the Course was very well presented after such a torrid Winter and Spring. The food was also very good and the whole day worked very well.
Next up in July is a trip to North Lincolnshire.

Matches Northamptonshire Result Points Norfolk Result Points


Jack Brown

Alec Francis

Half 0.5

Sean Rafferty

Matt Strudwick

Half 0.5

Richard Dalton

Liam McNeela

2&1 1

Darren Abbs

Casey Patterson


Sam Gilkes

Ben Hawkins

Pete Murphy

Scott Wright

6&5 1

Carl Sainsbury

Jacob Williams

Ryan Clarke

Adam Sims

2up 1



1 Jack Brown 1up 1 Casey Patterson

2 Alec Francis Half 0.5 Scott Wright Half 0.5
3 Liam McNeela 4&3 1 Adam Sims
4 Sam Gilkes

Darren Abbs 4&2 1
5 Richard Dalton 1up 1 Ryan Clarke
6 Ben Hawkins 2&1 1 Pete Murphy

7 Jacob Williams Half 0.5 Matt Strudwick Half 0.5
8 Carl Sainsbury 5&4 1 Sean Rafferty