We were very excited to qualify for the Six Counties 2nd Team Finals which took place on Sunday 1st October at Tiverton Golf Club, our opponents being Cornwall.
A relaxed practice round the afternoon before gave the team an opportunity to get a good look at the course and to practice with their foursomes partners, two of which were new pairings.
Leading the way, the new pairing of Sophie Dodds and Kate Thurlow came up against a very strong pair. They were holding them A/S for most of the front 9 however the Cornish girls turned up the heat coming through for the win on the 15th.
Next up was the second new pairing of Izzy Lloyd and Taylor Hodgson. A strong start saw them go 2 up through the first 5 holes and increasing that lead by winning the 13th and 14th and going dormie 4. Their opponents weren’t finished yet though and won the next 2 holes. However, the Glos pair stepped up, won the 17th and took the game 3&1.
Our final morning pairing of Molly Stewart and Millie Gait (previously victorious vs Dorset) had a steady start and were A/S after 5 holes. It was an up and down back 9 with the pair alternating between 1 down and A/S. However, winning the 17th gave them the momentum to hold off their opponents, winning 1 up.
Gloucestershire were leading 2-1 into the afternoon singles matches.
With confidence high after their win, the first two up in the afternoon singles were Taylor and Izzy.
Up against one of her opponents from the morning session, Taylor was A/S through the front 9, going a couple down around the turn but getting it back to A/S by the 13th. Shot of the Day must go to Taylor for her approach into 17. A slightly wayward 2nd shot hit a tree and deflected onto the next fairway. With the green barely visible through very tall trees, the only option was aerial. Undeterred, Taylor took her swing over the trees, the ball landing on the green about 10 feet from the pin to applause from her opponent and some Tiverton members! She then went on to win the hole and the match.
Izzy made a strong start going 2 up through 5. However, her opponent was playing strongly and holed 2 exceptionally long putts to bring it back to A/S through 10. She increased her lead through the 15th, leaving Izzy 1 down stepping onto the 18th tee. In true gritty Gloucestershire style, Izzy went on to win the 18th and square the match.
Next up was Kate Thurlow who made a strong start being 2 up thru 4. Her opponent pulled 1 back on the 5th, but Kate retained her lead through the 10th. After unfortunately losing a couple of holes, she was 1 down through 15. Again, the Gloucestershire grit came to the fore by winning the 17th and stepping onto the 18th tee A/S. Two exceptional shots on the par 5 saw Kate just off the left fringe in two. Only narrowly missing the chip in eagle, the birdie secured the match and Kate took the point.
Sophie Dodds followed her foursomes partner off the tee for the afternoon singles. Again making a good start and 2 up through 4, her opponent grabbed 1 back on the 5th and then a couple more leaving Sophie 1 down through 10. Sadly, she lost another hole and was 2 down through 15. But the fight was still there and she grabbed another one back, stepping onto the 18th tee only 1 down. Despite fighting till the end, Sophie halved the 18th losing her match 1 down.
Fifth in our line-up was Molly Stewart who made a steady start and was A/S through the first 5 despite an injury to her foot. Turning up the heat, Molly was 3 up through 10 and retained her lead to win the match convincingly, 3&1.
Last to go was Millie Gait. Another steady start being 1 up through 5 after almost driving the par 4, 5th, much to the surprise of the County Coach and VC who were watching the ball fly towards them at the edge of the green... She continued to push her opponent very hard, securing her win with a birdie on the 15th.
I can’t describe how proud I am of these ladies after an absolutely brilliant team performance to become Six Counties 2nd Team Champions and by such a convincing margin to opponents who did not give up easily.
Thanks as well to all the other ladies who played in 2nd Team matches this year; Kelly Armfield, Rosie Boyle, Liz Robbins, Elin Tynan, Kirsten Westgate and Sophie Williams, all of whom contributed to getting us to the final.
Thanks to all our fantastic caddies who have looped the courses with our team, not always in the best of weather and to all our Burgundy Brigade supporters who have cheered us on either on the course or via the WhatsApp group.
Special thanks from me to Sam Round and Jamie McCormick for teaching me what County golf is all about.
2nd Team Captain