1st TEAM WIN SEASON OPENER AWAY TO MIDDLESEX

1st TEAM WIN SEASON OPENER AWAY TO MIDDLESEX

1ST TEAM FROM L TO R, LUKE COLGATE, TERRY TRUDE (ACTING MANAGER), PHIL DORMER, ALEX COLLMAN (CAPTAIN), TONY WILKINS (VICE CAPTAIN), JAMES SURRIDGE, BEN HARMAN, MATT SMITH AND LAURIE OWEN.

On Sunday 14th May the Herts Men’s first team got their league season underway with a visit to Fulwell GC in Twickenham to face a strong Middlesex side. With a newly appointed vice captain, Tony Wilkins (Harpenden Common) and 3 new additions to the squad in Phil Dormer (Essendon), James Surridge (Verulam) and Matt Smith (Chesfield Downs), hopes were high for an improvement on the 2016 campaign that produced just one draw and 3 defeats from the 4 league games played.

Fulwell was a layout in first class condition that promised to suit the Herts players, and with the greens running fast and true a premium was placed on accurate approaches and a steady hand with the putter.

The day got off to the perfect start with Wilkins and Ben Harman winning 4&2 in the opening foursomes match, but following defeats for the pairings of Luke Colgate and Phil Dormer in the second match and Alex Collman and Matt Smith in the anchor role all hopes turned to Laurie Owen and James Surridge to give the team some hope going into the afternoon singles. At 2 down with 3 to play the whole tie hung in the balance, but with majestic iron shots on the par 3 16th and par 5 17th from Owen leading to birdies, the game headed down the 18th all square. The Herts pair looked favourites to clinch an unlikely point following the approach shots to the green, but a fantastic scrambling par from the Middlesex pair salvaged them the half point that gave the home side a 2.5 – 1.5 lead at lunch. Nonetheless the comeback from Owen and Surridge buoyed the Herts team and gave the side hope that victory was still achievable.

With wins from Collman, Harman, Surridge and Smith (who at one stage was dormy 8!), Herts needed just one more point from the final 3 games left on the course to clinch the win. Wilkins, out second in the order against Middlesex stalwart Justin Phelps, had battled back from 3 down to have a putt from 3 feet on the 17th to take a lead down the last. The putt horseshoed and remained on the edge of the hole, and when his par putt slid past on 18 it was left to ever present Luke Colgate to secure the win with a nerveless birdie on 17.

The team were delighted to finally get the victory that last year’s performances promised and their thanks go to Fulwell GC, the Middlesex Golf Union and also to Terry Trude who stepped in to manage the side in the absence of Louis Matamala who was running the Herts Salver event on the same day.

Herts now face Bedfordshire in the next South East League match at Hadley Wood on 28th May and will look to avenge the 2016 defeat at The Millbrook. 

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