I am going to report on two aspects of the 2023 Midland South County Match Week – Berkshire teams results and hosting the week.
The team for this year’s competition we had some new players and those who had played before. We were also faced with a mixture of availability due to exams and work commitments. Fortunately, I had enough players for each of the matches. However, one of the challenges we had with the new players is trying to find the right combination for foursomes and it would prove tricky. But in the end we have found some combinations that bode well for the future.
Playing for the first time for Berkshire where, Sarah Heath, Chloe Walkington, Ella Hammond- Baveystock, Holly Lund and Sarah-Jane Dalgleish.
Donna Hunt and Airlie Dyson, were also there all 3 days helping with support, refreshments and keeping moral going.
We faced Buckinghamshire in our first match, and when you have a team that has just come together always going to be the most difficult one to start with. Though we lost the match 5-0, 3 of the matches could have gone the other way as they took the +4 handicappers to the wire. This was a tough one to start with and will always put the team onto the back foot.
And it was the story our week – fine margins.
Our afternoon match was against Warwickshire. There were easy wins for Sarah Heath/Emily Savage in the foursomes and for Chloe Walkington. 2 of the other matches went to 18th where we lost.
However, the day was highlighted by a couple of interesting rulings needed for Vicky Prietzel from Goring & Stretley In the morning her ball got stuck up a bush and in the afternoon, her ball was found resting on top of another ball. Do you know the correct decision? Answer at the bottom of the page.
Tuesday saw an early morning downpour meaning a 15 min delay to start times. The morning match was against Northamptonshire. We won the foursomes matches and nearly won the last singles match that went to 18th, but unfortunately we lost overall 3-2. Oh so close!
The PM match was against the strong Worcestershire and Herefordshire side. Unfortunately, we didnt play our best and were convincingly beaten by the better side. They would go on to play Buckinghamshire in the winner takes all match the next morning.
Our final match on Wednesday morning was against Oxfordshire, with both sides wanting to win, as it would decide the other end of the table. We lost the foursomes but both of them going to 18th. It came down to the singles and wins for Bella Kent (who had had exams up to this point) and Chloe Walkington meant it came down to the last match and debutant Holly Lund.
This match probably describes how close it all was. Holly was 3 down with 4 to play. She played her heart out to get to 17th par 3, to be 1 down. Both players did not get their ball on the green. However, for Holly a plugged ball meant she had to get it out but it left her with a long putt down the green which she pushed pass the pin. Even so she had a return putt that could have won the hole. Unfortunately it just went over the edge and that was the difference with our matches. Close!
It was disappointing for all but it could for some of the matches, gone the other way. I am extremely proud of the team and we have a foundation for a good team going forward. With some players not available this year, hopefully who can play next year, I can leave them in the safe hands of Jules to bring this team on more.
My thanks go to the caddies for helping the players, for the supporters who came along to watch the team. Thank you to the clubs who sent in good luck cards and messages – all were appreciated.
Not only were we playing as a team we were hosting the matches at Sonning. Here’s an insight to what goes on.
The hosting of such an event takes up peoples time and resources to make it a success. For me, having Jules Tarr and Irene Gregory on the team help me immensely with the organisation before, during and after the event. The preparation started in October 2022 and continued with team meetings, liaising and negotiating with Sonning GC, referees, Elspeth and other suppliers to ensure we could deliver the catering, buggies, radios, score cards and many more aspects of the event. It is a long list of things to organise! But all were ready before the first practice ball was played.
The week starts on Sunday, with practice rounds for all the counties to see how the course is playing. In the evening there is a dinner, were we welcome guests, the counties and we introduce the teams. We welcomed Andy George, the manager and Di Sidery (Lady Captain) and Elspeth Cooper as our guests.
After the meal, the teams disappear and then the battles commences.
It’s a process that has over the years been finely tuned for orgainsers and teams.
Breaksfast was available from 7am with the first tee off time 8:30 and we do a tw0 tee start.
However, before each match, the Captains must declare their teams 45mins beofre their tee time; start sheets are produced and sent to the Captains; the cards, pin positions, result sheets are given to the starter. Then start runs through the rules hands out cards, pin positions and result sheet to the first foursomes match. Then play commences. Once a match is finished the players sign the result sheet and hand them in.
Lunch and repeat the above in the afternoon.
After the final match is played the teams have a lunch and the presentation of the Doris Abraham Torphy is awarded. The winner goes on to represent the region at the England Golf finals.
Airlie gave the thank you speak and I presented the above trophy to Suzanna Mitterer, Bucks Captain.
The organisation went really well and was a great success for Berkshire, receiving many compliments and thanks form the other Counties.
Our thanks also go to Sonning GC, their Manager – Andy George, staff and club members. In particular, we thank Elspeth Cooper for all her time and effort getting the volunteers organised.