HERTS BOYS U16 TEAM AT THE DYKE GC, SUSSEX, FROM L TO R, BEN PIERLEONI, GEORGE WRIGHT, JACK BIGHAM, MAX HOPKINS, GEORGE DURKAN, DOMINIC CLEMONS, MATTHEW GAUNTLETT & SAM LINSKEY
REPORT BY BOYS MANAGER, CHRIS JAMES;
Fresh from success of winning the U18 South Eastern Group League Final the previous weekend, the Hertfordshire Boys U16 Team, with 4 members of the winning U18 team within their ranks, travelled with high hopes for the U16 age group league final at The Dyke Golf Club overlooking Brighton. Having won their Central League Zone their opponents were Hampshire, winners of the Southern Zone, and Suffolk from the Northern Zone. The course was in fine condition for the time of year and a challenging breeze challenged player’s club selection. Alas despite beating Suffolk convincingly, they could only tie with Hampshire in a tensely close encounter, which meant the final was decided on game points difference. Hertfordshire beat Suffolk 6 games to 2, whereas Hampshire beat them 7-1 which gave them the League title by just the one point margin.
Unfortunately Hertfordshire got off to the poorest of starts in the opening games with England Internationals, Max Hopkins and Ben Pierleoni losing to Hampshire by 1-hole and 3&1 respectively in closely fought games.
When news came through of a heavy loss by George Wright out on the course, matters were looking decidedly unfavourable with a 3 -0 lead to Hampshire.
George Durkan’s emphatic victories in both his games by 6&4 stopped the rot, and then a close win by another England International, Dominic Clemons by 2 holes. That was quickly followed by Jack Bigham, with a superb tee shot on the 216 yard par 3, 17th hole to 7 feet, which he holed for a birdie to close out his match 2&1.
That tied the scores with Hampshire 3-3. It was all down to the last two games on the course. Sam Linskey played the 16th in par to win his game with Suffolk, and then hit a superb rescue club into the 17th green in similar manner to Jack to close out his game by 2&1 against Hampshire.
Alas in the anchor game Matt Gauntlett having lost the opening 4-holes to 3 birdies and an eagle, battled hard to cut the deficit but eventually succumbed to Hampshire’s lowest handicap player by 3&2, he beat Suffolk 2&1 with an audacious chip in for a par on the 17th having missed the green with his tee shot.
That left the games with Hampshire tied at 4-4 but with the rules stating that in the event of a tie it was down to game points’ difference, it meant whoever had beaten Suffolk by the greater margin would be the title winners.
The boys were naturally disappointed but displayed buoyant team spirit throughout which augurs well for the future.