Leicestershire’s Foxes bounced back against previously unbeaten Staffordshire with a 5.5-3.5 win on Wednesday, overturning a 2-1 deficit in foursomes by winning the singles 4.5-1.5. The result also throws the overall competition wide open with two days still to play. Three teams (Staffordshire, Derbyshire and Lincolnshire) each have two wins whilst Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Shropshire, have one.
Shropshire posed a significant challenge in foursomes having not dropped a point in their first two matches. Caz Parkes-Walley and Jo Mayfield led Leicestershire off against a young Staffs pair who showed great form in starting 2 under par through 7 holes to take a 3up lead. Caz and Jo played the 8th very well to reduce the margin to 2dn, only to see Staffs hole a birdie from 25’ on 9 to reinstate the 3 hole lead. Despite some excellent play from Caz and Jo the match went to Staffs.
The second match saw Ellie York and Kirsten Thorpe take on an experienced pair from Stafforshire who took advantage of two early mistakes from Leicestershire to take the initiative. A fine approach from Ellie to the 3rd was converted by Kirsten to halve the arrears before a birdie from Staffs at 6 stretched the lead to 3 holes. From there Leicestershire’s young stars fought hard to get back into the match but were thwarted by a near error-free display from the Staffs pair who ran out winners 4&3.
Suzanne Pretty and Gemma Parkes-Walley raced to a 3up lead through 3 when Suzanne holed a fine putt and they extended the lead to 5up with well-played holes at 6 and 7. A birdie from Staffs on the 9th began a mini-fightback that saw the Leicestershire lead reduced to 2up by the 13th. However, Suzanne and Gemma bounced back to restore their 3up lead after a great tee shot from Gemma and then closed out an excellent 4&3 win following Suzanne’s approach to 8’ on the 15th.
Trailing 2-1 from the morning foursomes, an enthralling afternoon’s golf ensued as Leicestershire found the points required from the afternoon singles to take the win.
Following a brief reprieve from the heatwave conditions caused by a morning mist, the afternoon matches were once again played in high temperatures. Jo Mayfield led the team off and played extremely well to be 1dn at the turn against a tough opponent. At the same point, Kirsten Thorpe was 2dn, whilst Helen Lowe, Caz Parkes-Walley and Gemma Parkes-Walley (all 2up) and Moira Page (3up) held the advantage in their matches. Helen (4&3), Moira and Caz (both 3&2) took the Foxes’ first three points of the afternoon and the team needed one more to take the overall win.
Kirsten and Gemma were both involved in battles royale in their matches. Kirsten, having recovered from 3dn after 7 to win four holes in a row to take a 1up lead suffered a body blow when a blind approach to 12 that seemed in no trouble could not be found and she conceded the hole to go back A/S. Showing real Foxes Never Quit spirit, she bounced straight back with a win at the downhill par 3 and held this advantage to the 17th where her opponent made an exceptional up and down to take the match to the 18th. Kirsten hit a great tee shot and 8 iron to the green and when an errant shot from Staffordshire could not be found, a concession meant the youngster from Charnwood Forest GC secured her first point at County Week and the day’s win for the team – congratulations Kirsten!
Gemma had made an impressive start to her round and despite some impressive play, had been reeled in by her long-hitting young opponent from Staffordshire and was 1dn at 13. The Staffordshire lead was extended at 14 but Gemma played 15 and 16 brilliantly to bring the match back to all square. Despite finding a bunker off the 17 tee, Gemma held her nerve to make par and retake the lead but a brave par attempt following another visit to a fairway bunker just missed and her fabulous match ended in a very honourable half to leave the final match score 5.5-3.5 to the Foxes.
This result also throws the overall competition wide open and Leicestershire are in high spirits as they look forward to playing Derbyshire on Thursday.
Thursday vs Derbyshire (8: 15 foursomes start; 12:45 singles start)
Friday vs Lincolnshire (8:41 foursomes start; 1:35 singles start)