Men from the South East dig deep to chalk up their first-ever County Championship victory
BB&O turned in a commanding performance to claim their first win in the English Senior Men’s County Championship at Robin Hood Golf Club in Solihull.
They swept past Yorkshire 7½-1½ to take the title in some style, with team captain Ashley Brewer notching the winning point.
“This is the holy grail of senior golf,” said Brewer, whose team was making its first appearance at county finals.
“BB&O have been trying to win this ever since it started but there are stronger counties in the South East and we have been second seven times in qualifying. To have finally got past our nemesis, Kent, in qualifying and to play at Robin Hood Golf Club was our chance.”
At the start of the final day’s play, BB&O, Yorkshire and Devon were all in with a chance of winning the title, but the eventual champions started as favourites, knowing that a halved match or better would give them victory.
They set out with much determination and, throughout the perfect autumn day, played with great consistency. Their result gave them a perfect score of three wins from three matches, the maximum six points, and put them out of the reach of their rivals.
They laid the foundations of their win with a clean sweep in the morning foursomes, taking early control of the bottom two matches thanks to Brewer and David Cromie, and Malcolm Reid and George Wilson. The final game involved three senior internationals - David Niven and Andrew Stracey for BB&O, and Stephen East for Yorkshire - and was very closely contested, going to the 18th before BB&O secured a two-up win.
The team clearly carried the momentum into the singles and, at the halfway stage, a whitewash looked to be very much on the cards. However, East and Ian Clarke spared Yorkshire’s blushes when they respectively won and halved their ties.
Still, the progress of the other matches was relentlessly in BB&O’s favour. Wilson led the way, steadily increasing his early lead and scoring the team’s first point by the hefty margin of 7&5.
Immediately behind him was Brewer, who was also a man in a hurry. He was quickly three-up and won the tenth, 11th and 12th to go six-up. A steady par on the 13th gave him a 6&5 win and secured the title.
His team were far from finished. Reid won on the 14th, Stracey claimed his point on the 16th and Niven birdied the 16th to get back on level terms before going on to halve his game.
In the day’s other match, Devon beat Worcestershire 6-3 and finished the event as runners-up.
Devon were always the outsiders to take the title. They needed the final day’s results to all fall their way and to win all nine of their games. Neither happened, but they put up a great fight, winning all three foursomes and going on to take three of the six singles.
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