Friday, October 08, 2010

Kent retain English senior

men'scounty title

Kent are still the English Seniors County Champions. They retained the title by just half a point at Ferndown when they beat Dorset 7½ – 1½ thanks to a crucial putt from Ricky Moore, while Cheshire had to settle for runners-up again despite an 8-1 victory over Northamptonshire.
Both Kent and Cheshire knew only an emphatic victory in their final matches would be good enough to win the title and they achieved that, which meant they finished tied with five match points. That meant the decision went down to game points with Kent finishing on 18½ to Cheshire’s 18. Kent’s success means they have matched Cheshire’s record in the event, both counties having won the title on three occasions.
Kent’s hero was Moore, who holed a five-foot winning putt on the 18th green to halve his match with Brian Medlam which tipped the title in Kent’s way.

Everyone thought the championship would end in a tie. “So did I,” said Kent captain Nic Allen. “But Ricky’s vital putt in front of a large audience did it for us.”

“I’m very relieved,” added Allen. “I don’t know about it being nail-biting. I don’t think I’ve got any fingers left. This is my last year as captain and I’m very glad for the team. It was a good performance. We were one game point ahead and we knew we had to match Cheshire’s performance which we did.”

After completing a clean sweep of the morning foursomes, Kent were flying in the singles with Andrew Stracey, Chris Reynolds and Dave Jessup putting them within grasping distance of the title.

Chris Hurst made it 7-0 with a 2-hole win over David Lock but the final two games were in Dorset’s hands. Moore had been 2-up through 12 holes against Medlam, who then got his nose in front with two to play. It all came down to the last where Moore kept his nerve to hole from five feet to square the match and give Kent the vital half point they needed. Campbell Boal gained the South West Champions’ first point with a final green against Sam Smale to see Dorset into third place overall.

Cheshire, looking to win the title they last held in 2008, were also fast out of the blocks, winning all three morning foursomes. They were equally impressive in the singles, only one match eluding their grasp when Richard Cole gained Northants only point with a 2 and 1 win over Bob Walker in the top game.

Otherwise it was all Cheshire with Phil Slater leading the way with a 6 and 5 win over Rodney Haig, completing an impressive week for the seniors international with six wins out of six. There was little sign of the final scoreline as the first seven holes were halved but Slater won the next six to wrap up an emphatic victory with a birdie on the 13th.

Fellow international Roy Smethurst, not having the best of weeks with three defeats, turned it round against Brian O’Connell. The Cheshire man had six birdies on his card, one coming at the seventh but he lost the hole to an eagle. However, he was 3-up at the turn on his way to a 2 and 1 success.

Three Cheshire men finished with unbeaten records, Slater, Scotland’s George Payne and Ron Harrison, who collected his fourth point with a 4 and 3 win over Andrew MacDonald

But at the end of the day they came up short and that Moore putt proved a cruel blow, proving that half a point can be so vital at times.



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