Hertfordshire are England’s champion county. They won the title for the first time amid scenes of great jubilation when they beat Yorkshire 5-4 on the last day of County Finals at Kedleston Park, Derbyshire. The championship is supported by Virgin Atlantic.
Hertfordshire won all five of their matches this week and as team captain Jackie Foster watched her celebrating players she commented: “They are just fantastic.”
After a tense afternoon’s play Hertfordshire’s hopes of victory depended on the last match on the course. Most of the team were on the 18th, where they’d watched Charlie Field secure a valuable half point, when the news came through that Charlie Douglass had won on the 16th.
They tore down the fairway, cheering and shrieking, as they made their way to meet the England international,
A quick team huddle was interrupted with cries of “How long have we waited for this!” “Go Herts, go Herts!” And, in a reference to the last two years, when they have been runners-up: “Third time lucky!”
Hertfordshire trailed 2-1 after the morning foursomes - and they were fortunate to win that point. Yorkshire had appeared to be in the driving seat when Emma Brown pitched up to within 2ft on the 18th, but Steph McEvoy chipped in to win the hole and the game.
From that time on Hertfordshire were unstoppable. They came out fighting in the singles and although they lost the top game they won three others and halved two.
Steph McEvoy was the first to put a singles point on the board, with a good win over Emma Brown. Lucy Williams halved, as did Charlie Field, who came back from one down with two to play. Harriet Key won on the 17th with a solid par and before long Charlie Douglass added her point after a low-scoring match peppered with birdies.
“I thought it was going to be difficult after we lost the foursomes but they all wanted to win so much and they all just played their hearts out. I am just so pleased for them and so pleased to be captain of the first Hertfordshire team to win County Finals,” said Jackie.
Yorkshire’s Liz Haw paid tribute to her players: “They have played their hearts out all week but they just couldn’t win on the last day. But it was 5-4, it wasn’t a disaster. I’m delighted with them all, they’re a great team, and they’ve got a great team spirit.”
Lincolnshire beat Northamptonshire 7-2 to take third place. “A very happy week for us,” said team captain Julia Sales.
In the day’s other match Sussex beat Dorset 5-4 and finished fourth.
The six teams contesting the championship each represent one of the regions of the English Women’s Golf Association: Hertfordshire from the East, Yorkshire from the North, Lincolnshire from Midlands North, Sussex from the South, Dorset from the South-West and Northamptonshire from Midlands South.
3 pts Lincolnshire
2 pts Sussex
Dorset 4 Sussex 5
(Dorset names first)
Hayley Davis & Georgia Hall beat Aileen Greenfield & Karen Sykes 3/2
Hannah Bews & Francesca Young lost to Stacey Rodger & Emma Carberry 5/3
Kerry-Anne Haskell & Alice Plumb lost to Chloe Court & Paula Carver 2 down
Davis lost to Carberry 6/5
Hall beat Katherine Russell 7/6
Melissa McMahon beat Chelsea Masters 6/4
Sophie Keech lost to Greenfield 3/2
Plumb lost to Court 6/5
Haskell beat Carver 5/3
Lincolnshire 7 Northamptonshire 2
(Lincolnshire names first)
Helen Hewlett & Holly Clyburn beat Rebecca Rowlands & Roseann Youngman 2/1
Jess Wilcox & Megan Illingworth lost to Megan Liddington & Rachel Smith 3/1
Emilee Taylor & Sophie Beardsall beat Rebecca Gee & Charley Hull 3/2
Clyburn beat Hull 2 up
Taylor beat Meghan MacLaren 1up
Hewlett beat Sarah Carter 5/4
Beardsall beat Liddington 5/4
Helen McDougall beat Rowlands 4/3
Wilcox lost to Youngman 3/2
Hertfordshire 5 Yorkshire 4
(Hertfordshire names first)
Charlie Douglass & Steph McEvoy beat Emma Brown & Rebecca Wood 1up
Alison Franklin & Harriet Key lost to Sophie Godley & Megan Garland 5/3
Lucy Williams & Charlie Field lost to Ellie Robinson & Claire Smith 2 down
Franklin lost to Sara Garbutt 4/3
Williams halved with Wood
McEvoy beat Brown 4/2
Field halved with Godley
Key beat Garland 3/1
Douglass beat Smith 4/2
– but the sailors praise the new boats