Foxes go down fighting against the holders and hosts on day one of County Week
Leicestershire started their 2018 Midlands North Region County Week campaign at Hollinwell against the defending champions and hosts Nottinghamshire on Monday. The course has been readied for hosting both County Week and final Open Championship Qualifying back-to-back and the recent hot, dry weather producing fiery conditions, making hitting fairways extremely challenging..
Leading the team off in the foursomes on day one were County President Moira Page (Glen Gorse) and Karen Haynes (Luffenham Heath). A steady start saw them take an early 1up lead, but the fast running conditions saw a number of excellent shots not earn their just deserts and they were pegged back to all square at the turn. Momentum swung back and forth on the back nine with Notts fighting back to take the lead late in the match. A great up and down on 17 from Leicestershire saw the match go to the last but a well played hole by the Notts team saw Moira and Karen edged out 2dn.
The second pair of County Champion Caz Parkes-Walley (Lutterworth) and Jo Mayfield (Rothley Park) played some good golf to lead 1up at the turn. They then turned on the style, making very few errors to take a 3up lead through 12 and rode the momentum to a very convincing 5&3 win.
Newly-crowned English Senior Strokeplay Champion Helen Lowe (Scraptoft) was partnered by Gemma Parkes-Walley (Lutterworth) in the final morning pairing. The team endured a tough start and were 2dn through 7 holes but fought back to be 1dn at the turn. Pulling the match back to all square on the 10th, some tight holes ensued until a well-played 13th put them 1up. Notts levelled the match again on 16 but an excellent 17th hole put the Foxes ahead again and they closed out the match with a solid par.
Leading 2-1 from the foursomes, soaring temperatures made the going extremely tough for the players in the afternoon singles. The Foxes enjoyed the best of the initial exchanges and took early leads in three matches through Suzanne Pretty (Longcliffe), Caz Parkes-Walley and Kirsten Thorpe, making her County Week debut. Still holding a slender advantage at the turn, it was looking promising for Leicestershire. However, Notts were fielding a number of Hollinwell members and local knowledge told in the end as momentum turned in their favour on the back nine. Ellie York’s (Hinckley) opponent was 5 under par and understandably proving too hot to handle; Suzanne enjoyed a battle royale but was just edged out, whilst Caz had to hold off a late come back to close out her win on 18. Kirsten had an impressive debut against a more experienced opponent before losing out, whilst Karen Haynes battled tenaciously against an in-form scratch player, displaying the “Foxes never quit” attitude that permeates throughout the team. Gemma nearly pulled off the comeback of the day, twice turning her match around from 3 down but a good up-and-down from Notts on 18 saw them cling on for a win.
A 5-1 reverse in the singles and a 6-3 loss overall did not do justice to such a fine battling performance against the holders and hosts. Despite the early disappointment, the spirit shown bodes well for day two against Shropshire.
Tuesday vs Shropshire (8:15 foursomes start; 12:45 singles start)
Wednesday vs Staffordshire (9:07 foursomes start; 2.25 singles start)
Thursday vs Derbyshire (8: 15 foursomes start; 12:45 singles start)
Friday vs Lincolnshire (8:41 foursomes start; 1:35 singles start)