On Monday 25 June our Scratch Team faced the long journey to play Kilton Forest in their latest Nottinghamshire County League match on a sweltering evening with little or no breeze. The Home course always a difficult track for visiting Teams had the appearance of an inland links course but nevertheless looked in good condition.
In the opening match our Captain, Danny Alford was playing his first match of the season and what an instant impact he made. A par at the first followed by a birdie at the 2nd meant that he took instant control of his game. When he lost 5th his lead was cut to 1 but an eagle at the 7th and another win at the 8th meant he was 3 up at the turn. Yet another eagle at the 10th and another win on the 12th increased his lead to 5 and he closed out his match by 6&5 when he won the 13th to crown a quite brilliant return to the team.
Behind him Alex Brewin lost the 1st only to level the match on the 2nd. He then took the lead by the 7th hole and a birdie on 8 took him to 2 up. He was pegged back when he lost the 13th and by his own admission on the homeward run he had plenty of chances to finish off his opponent but the putts would just not drop. There was a succession of halved holes which continued until the 18th which meant Alex won by 1 up in a match where he had never been behind after the 1st hole.
In the third match Chris Kearney returned to our Team but found himself 2 down after the first 2 holes. He tightened up his game and had leveled the match by the 7th. A birdie on the 8th gave him the lead for the first time but the match was level again by the 11th . 12 was halved but then the match took a decisive turn as Chris won the 13th and 14th. Bunker trouble on the 15th meant that Chris’s lead was cut to 1 but a solid Par on the 16th meant that he closed out his match by 2&1 to gain another fine win for our team.
Behind him Robin Moody halved the first only to lose the second when he had looked favourite. He won the 4th and the match was all square at the turn. Robin took the lead on the 10th but by the 14th he was 1 down. A fine second shot from a difficult position on the 15th kept him in the game and while he was always in contention he couldn’t quite get back on terms and when the match went down the 18th again it looked as though he might level it but when he just missed his birdie putt he suffered his first defeat of the season by the narrowest margin of 1 hole.
In the final match John Purser took the lead on the first and held that lead until he lost the 4th. When he lost the 8th and 9th John went 2 down but immediately struck back by winning 10 and 11. the next 2 holes were halved but by the 16th John was back in the lead. The 17th was halved and when his opponent narrowly missed his birdie putt on the final Green John’s birdie was given and so he recorded another fine win by 2 up.
So we won by 4 – 1 on a course when few visiting teams win. A very fine victory but the result only tells part of the story
The night featured 3 stories which showed the commitment of 3 of our Team and followers. Callum Fern was playing in Regional Qualifying for the Open Championship at Kedleston Park earlier in the day and had been hoping to be “bussed” to Kilton to play for us by Pete Trotter. However Callum was delayed at Kedleston as he was on the very cusp of qualifying for the next stage of qualifying. In the end he just missed out by 1 shot.
However Chris Kearney had traveled South from Wetherby to be on standby if Callum was unable to make it. So when the message came through Chris was on hand to take Callum’s place and of course record a fine victory for himself and our Team.
We all commiserate with Callum for just missing out on his dream of playing in The Open Championship but we praise his total commitment by wanting to play at Kilton and Chris for traveling all the way down to be on hand and of course Pete for his role of potential driver
So after 2 wins on the bounce we will be looking to continue our rise up the League Table Away to Springwater on Monday 9 July with the First Tee being at 4-30 pm. This will be another stern test on another difficult course for visiting Teams and will be our 4th Away game in our first 5 matches. We then have 3 home games to finish our season.