Hampshire continued their march towards the Women’s County Finals trophy when they beat Gloucestershire 8½–½ today for their fourth win of the week at Belton Park Golf Club.
In the day’s other matches, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire halved, while Yorkshire beat Lincolnshire 6-3.
Hampshire are the only team with a perfect record and they’ll win the championship tomorrow if they beat, or halve with, their final day opponents, Buckinghamshire.
Behind them are Yorkshire, with three points, followed by Hertfordshire 2½, Buckinghamshire 1½, Lincolnshire 1 and Gloucestershire 0.
Hampshire’s scoreline made it look easy today after they won all three morning foursomes and conceded a half point in the singles. However, as county captain Mags Clark made clear, it was anything but.
“Everyone here is a regional winner and there are no easy matches, far from it. Every day it’s much, much closer than the scores suggest and we are delighted to end the day with another win.”
Her team swept through the foursomes with three big wins. First to finish were senior international Chris Quinn and teenager Charlotte Barrow who won on the 12th. Georgie Mundy and Sarah Bradshaw sped to a 6/5 win, while former English champion Kerry Smith and Sarah Bradshaw finished their game on the 15th.
In the afternoon, though, the early momentum seemed to be with the Gloucestershire team, who were slotting some great putts as they took the initiative over the opening holes. There were some anxious moments as the Hampshire camp watched the action unfold, but gradually their players took control.
Kerry Smith provided the first point on the 14th, quickly followed by Emma Allen (Image © Leaderboard Photography) and their team-mates followed them relentlessly, winning a total of five singles and halving the remaining one.
The match between Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire turned into a real tussle which was decided only in a dramatic finale in the last match on the 18th green.
The players were all square as they teed off, but Hertfordshire needed to win to halve the overall result. Their player, Charlie Field, knew the situation and responded in perfect style with a birdie. “It was crucial,” said county captain Cathy Shand. “We were dead and buried really and to get a half was fantastic as far as we were concerned.”
However the Buckinghamshire team were far from despondent. “We came incredibly close to winning and all the matches were fantastic,” said county captain Karen Platt. “The girls have fought hard, they are an absolute credit to our junior programme and they are taking away so much experience.”
Tomorrow they will play Hampshire and they’re looking forward to it. “We are really excited about it. We have risen to the challenges we have met and we look forward to new challenges tomorrow,” said Karen.
Yorkshire, the defending champions, are the only other team who could possibly win the title tomorrow. To do so they would have to rely firstly on Buckinghamshire beating Hampshire and then coming through a countback, with a superior total of game points won.
And, in typical Yorkshire style, they continue to amass as many points as possible while there is a hope of victory. Today they took on a determined Lincolnshire team and emerged 6-3 winners.
They secured two comfortable wins in the foursomes, courtesy of their champion, Rochelle Morris and Kirsty Beckwith, and of Claire Smith and Holly Morgan. In the afternoon Rochelle edged through a tight game against Lincolnshire captain Helen Hewlett and was followed by Melissa Wood, Lucy Eaton and Claire Smith.
Tomorrow’s order of play:
Yorkshire v Hertfordshire
Buckinghamshire v Hampshire
Lincolnshire v Gloucestershire