COUNTY MATCHES v CAMBRIDGESHIRE 7th August

Teenager Ed stars in Norfolk triumph

TALENTED teenager Ed Featherstone was Norfolk's star as the county recorded a hard-fought Anglian League triumph against Cambridgeshire.Featherstone, 16, drained a 20-foot birdie putt on the final green that gave him a 1-up singles win and secured overall victory for the visitors at St Neots Golf Club.

The young Sheringham golfer - making just his second appearance for the county first team - had already played some superb golf in the morning foursomes in which he and partner Carl Green surged to a 4 and 3 win.

Evergreen Jon Baker-Odlin was the other Norfolk player to collect two points after he returned to the side as a replacement for the injured Warren Bates.

Baker-Odlin, who clinched a vital 1-up win alongside Ben Terry in the foursomes, produced a putting masterclass as he rolled them in from all over the place on his way to 6 and 5 singles success.

Also back in the team was Jack Cullington, who partnered debutant Charlie Roper in an emphatic 5 and 4 morning victory.

Cullington bagged a vital half-point from his afternoon singles, as did Terry, after both had trailed earlier in their respective head-to-heads.

Captain Simon Clark more than did his bit with a fine 5 and 4 win as Norfolk ran out overall 7-5 winners.

Norfolk County Golf Union president Robert Barnard said: "It was a great win. We led 3-1 at lunch but as the singles started to develop it soon became clear that it was going to be close finish.

"We knew that a half point from one of the final two matches on the course would secure the victory and Ed Featherstone really held his nerve to get us over the line in style. His match was all square on the final tee but a lovely approach shot and a superb putt gave him a 1-up win.

"It was a really good team performance and meant we all drove back happy, in stark contrast to the journey home after last month's loss against Lincolnshire."

The win boosted Norfolk's chances of clinching the league title but the odds are still stacked against them. They are fourth in the table and require a very favourable set of results on September 4, the final day of the season.

Norfolk will play rock-bottom Northamptonshire at Hunstanton while the top two sides Leicestershire/Rutland and Lincolnshire face off at Market Rasen.

On a good weekend for Norfolk golf, the second team recorded a very pleasing 7.5-4.5 win over their Cambridgeshire counterparts at Wensum Valley.

The morning foursomes couldn't see the two sides split with both securing two points. But Norfolk proved the stronger in the afternoon with nobody playing better golf than Casey Patterson.

The Royal Cromer golfer left junior golf last year and showed that he has made a smooth transition with a thumping 8 and 7 singles success to help the host county power to victory.

COUNTY MATCHES v LINCOLNSHIRE 3rd July

NORFOLK’S county 1st team golfers fell to their first league defeat of the season as they were outplayed by Lincolnshire at Royal West Norfolk Golf Club.

The hosts were unable to stem the tide in the afternoon singles after Lincolnshire took a 3-1 lead in the opening foursomes matches.

Simon Clark and Chris White gave Norfolk a lift during the morning with an emphatic 6&5 success.

But the opposition proved too strong in the singles – albeit, no less than five head-to-heads went right to the wire.

Warren Bates showed his battling qualities, coming back from a losing position with just three holes left to secure a one-up success.

But of the four other clashes that went down the 18th it was Lincolnshire who claimed success in each.

Carl Green was Norfolk’s only other singles scorer, registering a 3 & 2 victory as Lincs ran out comfortable 9-3 winners.

Norfolk County Golf Union president Robert Barnard said: “Lincolnshire proved strong opponents and were worthy winners on the day. However, the overall result probably doesn’t quite reflect the balance of play, especially when you consider how tight five of the singles games were.”

Norfolk first team’s next match is on August 7 away at St Neots Golf Club where they will face league leaders Cambridgeshire.

Anglian League result

Norfolk 1st team 3 Lincolnshire 1st team 9 (Played at Royal West Norfolk Golf Club)

Foursomes (Norfolk players named first)
Warren Bates and Ben Terry lost 3&2 to Matt Haynes and Sam Whitaker
Ed Featherstone and Ben Willis lost 7&5 to Nick Baines & Josh Payne
Simon Clark and Chris White won 6&5 v Callum Bruce & Jonny Kittle
Carl Green and George Morris lost 3&2 to Will Hopkins & Jake Ball

Singles
Willis lost 1-down to Whitaker
Terry lost 5&3 to Bruce
Bates won 1-up v Kittle
Green won 3&2 v Payne
Featherstone lost 1-down to Ball
Clark lost 1-down to v Haynes
White lost 1-down to Baines
Morris lost 7&6 to Hopkins

Norfolk: S Clark (Great Yarmouth & Caister), Warren Bates (Heacham Manor), Ben Terry (Royal Norwich), E Featherstone (Sheringham), B Willis (Swaffham), C White (Hunstanton), C Green (Great Yarmouth & Caister), G Morris (Eaton)

After a long drive to Waltham Windmill, Grimsby, and a good practice round Saturday, the County 2nd team players were upbeat, and confident, come match day. Unfortunately that confidence soon began to evaporate as the morning foursomes resulted in a 3.5-0.5 score line in favour of the hosts, Lincolnshire, whose team had been strengthened by the return of 4 players from their US University golf scholarships.

Rutherford and Hobley, played some excellent golf through out the 18 holes, to grind out a half against the Lincs pairing of Diment and Remblance.

The afternoon singles followed much the same format as the morning as Lincolnshire continued to dominate play resulting in a 5-3 score line.

The final result was Lincolnshire 8.5-Norfolk 3.5.

COUNTY MATCHES v LEICESTERSHIRE 5th June

First team away at Rothley Park and second team at home at Wensum Valley

Unfortunately, the scheduled 1st team match at Rothley Park was cancelled at 8.30am due to flooding. The league rules meant that the fixture was deemed a 6-6 draw. This coupled with the other results on the day see Norfolk at the top of the table.

After much deliberation and despite the cold and wet conditions the second team fixture went ahead at Wensum Valley. However, it was agreed to play under local rules of preferred lies and with all bunkers deemed no play areas.

Norfolk made changes from their first match and appeared to be strengthened with a mix of experience and youth.

This was highlighted in the foursomes pairing of Ben Rawsthorne and Casey Patterson who battled hard over the closing holes to finish all square with their Leicestershire opponents and securing a half point.

The experienced Tom Nudd, returning from injury, partnered Kane Hindle, but lost 4 and 3 to the solid pairing of Will Rant and Jake Crosman.

Scott Wright and Brandon Hobley also showed their fighting qualities to gain another half point.

Captain Shaun Larkins paired with Pete Murphy secured a victory to leave the match evenly poised at 2-2.

A promising start to the afternoon’s singles saw a 3/1 win for Ben Rawsthorne.

Having been 2 down with 3 to play, Casey Patterson showed strength of character to gain a half point against the talented Will Plant.

Unfortunately, defeats in the following matches meant that Pete Murphy's 2/1 victory in the last game was to no avail with Leicestershire and Rutland winning the afternoon singles 5.5 to 2.5.

This resulted in an overall victory of 7.5 to 4.5 for the visitors.

Busy Bates on-song at Seacroft

WARREN BATES and Ben Terry were Norfolk’s leading duo at Seacroft in the Eastern Counties Foursomes, in which Leicestershire & Rutland emerged as comfortable winners.

Norfolk ended up seventh of nine overall but finished just three-and-half points behind joint runners-up Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire – who were both a full six points back from the runaway victors.

Heacham Manor golfer Bates and his Royal Norwich partner Terry dovetailed superbly over the two tournament days on the Lincolnshire links lay-out.

Foursomes golf is an exciting and difficult format to master but the pair secured six points from the eight on offer in their matches.

Bates, 22, said: “We’re best mates. We play a lot of golf together and know each other’s game, so that helps when you’re making decisions together on shots. We drove it well and putted well – but it would’ve been nice to have won the other two points!”

Bates will be hoping to take his fine form into this week’s Brabazon Trophy (May 19-22) at Saunton Golf Club in Devon.

He came through the Midlands qualifier at Stanton-On-The-Wolds Golf Club to earn his place in the field for the tournament – also known as the English Men’s Open Amateur Stroke Play Championship – for the first time.

Next week Bates will continue his busy period when he tees it up in in another prestigious amateur event, the Lagonda Trophy (May 25-26), which is held each year at Gog Magog Golf Club just outside Cambridge.

Eastern Counties Foursomes (Seacroft Golf Club) final result: Leicestershire & Rutland 27.5 points: Cambridgeshire 21.5; Lincolnshire 21.5: Suffolk 21: Berks, Bucks & Oxon 19.5: Essex 18.5: Norfolk 18.0: Northamptonshire 17.5: Bedfordshire 15.0

Norfolk: Jon Baker Odlin (Dereham), Warren Bates (Heacham Manor), Mason Bernstein (Kings Lynn), Simon Clark (Great Yarmouth & Caister), Carl Green (Great Yarmouth & Caister), George Morris (Eaton), Peter Murphy (Mundesley), Michael Skipper (Eaton), Ben Terry (Royal Norwich), Chris White (Hunstanton), Iain Yule (King’s Lynn).

Rising star Mason seals ‘derby’ triumph

TEENAGER Mason Bernstein holed the winning putt as Norfolk’s county golfers staged a thrilling fightback to pip old rivals Suffolk in their opening match of the season.
Suffolk looked to hold the edge in the Anglian League tie after a dramatic conclusion to the morning foursomes at Bawburgh Golf Club. The visitors’ Jack Cardy holed a 28-foot birdie putt on the final green for a half-point that left Norfolk trailing 1.5-2.5 at the lunch break.
 
But Simon Clark’s rejuvenated side were a different proposition in the singles clashes, playing some superb and determined golf to peg back their rivals.Warren Bates set the tone in the top match storming to a point and Ben Terry was soon recording another victory for the home side. The hosts’ captain Clark played a cool hand in the middle order to post a further success, while George Morris powered through 7&5 in the last game out. 

That left all eyes on the crunch clash featuring 18-year-old Bernstein against experienced Suffolk campaigner Will Wright.

It appeared as if Bernstein was in control when – at 2-up – he fizzed a superb iron close at the short 16th. 

But Wright rammed home an 18-foot putt for birdie and Bernstein was unable to convert, ensuring an exciting climax to their match. 

The 17th was halved in pars before both players’ approaches came up fractionally short of the final green.

But the King’s Lynn golfer showed great composure in chipping to four feet and making a clutch putt that secured him a 1-up victory, as well as giving Norfolk the overall bragging rights. 

The remaining match on the course saw Chris White take a half-point to add some gloss to the overall score-line of 7-5.

All of Norfolk’s eight-man team contributed at least a half-point on the day with Jon Baker-Odlin and Morris coming out all-square from that gripping foursomes match with Cardy and Max Weaver. 

But it was Bernstein who was the star of the show, winning both of his matches as he preceded his singles success by partnering Cullington in a 2&1 victory during the morning’s play. 

With a glint in his eye, Norfolk captain Clark said: “There’s nothing better than beating Suffolk! 

“To win the afternoon 5.5-2.5 was a brilliant result. It was a great turnaround after a slightly disappointing morning."

“It’s a very good start to the season – it’s important to get that first win on the board. I’m very pleased with the team and it was brilliant for Mason to hole the winning putt.”

Suffolk more than played their part in a superb match with two of their young guns – Teddy Hall and Dan Nicholls – excelling. 

Indeed it was a memorable debut for Nicholls, who not only won both of his matches but also fired a hole-in-one.

He aced the 133-yard second hole with a 9-iron during a foursomes success alongside Alfie Hall. 

Anglian League result
Norfolk 1st team 7 Suffolk 1st team 5 (Played at Bawburgh Golf Club) 

Foursomes (Norfolk players named first)
Warren Bates and Ben Terry lost 1-down to Ben Sayers and Teddy Hall
Simon Clark and Chris White lost 4&3 to Alfie Hall and Dan Nicholls
Mason Bernstein and Jack Cullington won 2&1 v Will Wright & Patrick Spraggs
Jon Baker-Odlin and George Morris halved with Max Weaver & Jack Cardy

Singles
Bates (Heacham Manor) won 2-up v A Hall
Cullington (Dereham) lost 6&4 to T Hall
Terry (Royal Norwich) won 2&1 v Sayers
Baker-Odlin (Dereham) lost 3&2 to Nicholls
Bernstein (King’s Lynn) won 1-up v Wright
Clark (Great Yarmouth & Caister) won 3&2 v Weaver
White (Hunstanton) halved with Spraggs
Morris (Eaton) won 7&5 v Cardy 






Norfolk's winning team

NORFOLK second team went down 7-5 at Diss Golf Club to their Suffolk counterparts.

But the final score-line doesn’t reflect the full story.

Norfolk were unable to secure anything from the morning foursomes before launching a stirring revival in the singles matches.

Tom Rutherford, Kevin Webb, Pete Murphy, Josh Weeds and Iain Yule all recorded exciting 1-up victories as Norfolk took the head-to-heads by a 5-3 margin. 

The afternoon certainly restored Norfolk second team’s pride but it was their hosts that registered the overall win.

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