Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Essex on brink of title after second big win

Essex are within touching distance of their third English boys' county title after beating Wiltshire 6-3 on Day 2 at Sandiway in Cheshire, while Durham bounced back from their opening day setback by overcoming Derbyshire 7-1 with one game halved.
Tomorrow Essex face Derbyshire and need only to draw to lift the title for the first time since 2004. Durham are the only county that can deprive them but they must beat Wiltshire and hope Essex lose heavily.
Despite winning all three morning foursomes, Essex were given a fight by Wiltshire in the singles which were eventually shared 3-3.
In the top game, James Wiltshire dented Todd Clements 100% record by beating the Essex lad by one hole. Clements won the opening hole but a Wiltshire eagle at the long fourth levelled matters but it wasn’t until the 11th that he got ahead with successive birdies. Clements then birdied the 13th while a par at the next squared the contest again. 
They both birdied the par five 16th but when Wiltshire added another at 17 he stayed ahead to claim his narrow victory.
Wiltshire added to their tally when Rhys Edwards overcame George Whitbread 4 and 2, while Jamie Amor secured his first singles win with a 2 and 1 score against Elliot Fullalove.
Edwards reeled off three birdies in a row from the third to race three up over Whitbread and although the Essex man pulled it back to two down at the turn he soon found himself three down again when Edwards parred the tenth. Again Whitbread battled back to cut the deficit to pne down after 12 but a run of birdie-par-birdie from the 14th saw Edwards to victory.
Amor won the opening two holes against Fullalove but the Essex lad eagled the fourth, hitting a three-iron close then squared matters with a birdie at five. But a run of pars enabled Amor to go three up at the turn and 4up after ten. That was still the score after 14 but Fullalove won 15 and 16 with pars but couldn’t complete the climb.
However, Essex took the other three games through Louise Lazarus, 4 and 2 over Charles Dunn, Bradley Bawden (image © Leaderboard Photography), 4 and 3 against Dom Patton, plus a 3 and 2 win for Taylor Carter over Tom Law.
In the Derbyshire v Durham match it was a case of beware the injured golfer. In this case it was the Durham team who put the previous day’s heavy defeat by Essex behind them by dropping just one and a half points to their opponents.
Having made their intentions known by taking all three morning foursomes, the Northern champions kept up the pressure with Aaron McManus beating Josh Williams 4 and 3 and Sam Donald overcoming Will Painter 5 and 3.
McManus fell behind after three holes but was back on terms after four and two up at the turn. He won the next two holes with pars and despite losing the 12th he parred the 15th for a half and victory.
Donald was always ahead after taking the first hole. He was five up at the turn, thanks to birdies at eight and nine, and despite losing the tenth and 12th, the latter to a birdie, he took the 14th and 15th to close out the game.
The top single looked to be a comfortable victory for Derby’s Josh Thorley but Chris Handy had other ideas. Thorley won the opening three holes, Handy losing a ball on the second, and although the latter won the fourth with a concession, Thorley restored his three-hole lead with a chip-in birdie at the next. 
Thorley was still four up at the turn and through 11 but a par at the 12th and a birdie at 13 saw Handy halve the deficit.
Handy produced his own chip-in for a winning birdie at 16 followed by a birdie 3 at 17 which brought the contest back to all square where it remained, Handy being congratulated for his amazing fightback.
Derbyshire’s only success was secured by John Ashton who battled back several times to beat James Rogers 2 and 1. Otherwise it was Durham all the way, wrapping up the bottom two games out in the country.
James Wilson trailed Derby’s Will Davidson over the front nine. He was three down after four but pulled back to just one down at the turn and was all square after ten. It was then that the Durham man pressed the accelerator. He won three holes in a row from the 12th, two with pars, and stayed ahead to win 3 and 2.
Then Cameron Wallace boosted by his morning foursomes’ win, was always ahead against Jamie Booth. A par at the third followed by a conceded birdie at four put the Durham lad two up, which was the score at the turn. 
He went three up for the second time on the tenth and while the pair both birdied the 15th, another Wallace birdie at 16 sealed the point in his favour by 4 and 2.
“It was an astonishing turnaround from yesterday,” said Durham manager Ken Joel. “We sat down last night and came up with a few positives and forgot the negatives. We also switched the team around a bit and it worked. Today was a case of teamwork on and off the course.” 
For more information visit the championship website

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