A feeling of relief spread around the Kent team after they edged past Dorset 6-3 on the opening day of the English Seniors County Finals at Tandridge but there were no such problems for Cheshire who beat Staffordshire 7-2.
Having won all three of the morning foursomes, Kent looked set for a comfortable victory over the south west champions but it didn’t go to plan.
At one stage Dorset led in five of the six singles and were poised to not only turn the contest on its head but also to create a major shock. Gradually Kent staged a recovery and it was Sam Smale who saw them over the line with a 1-hole victory over Graham Taylor.
Andrew Stracey found little problems in the top single against Chris Dennis, the Kent man being 2-down after eight holes but then won seven of the next eight for a 4 and 2 victory.
Brian Medlam beat Chris Hurst by 2 holes with a birdie-three at the 18th, while John Smith overcame English Seniors Champion Chris Reynolds in similar style with a fine hole birdie, Smith’s powers of recovery and his slick putting proving decisive.
That left Kent still short of their target but Ricky Moore ensured they couldn’t lose with a half against David Lock although he was 2-up with two to play.
So it was left to Smale to be the hero of the hour although he was 3-up after 12 and looking set to win out in the country, however Taylor hit him with back-to-back birdies at 13 and 14 then grabbed an unlikely win with a par at the 17th to leave the contest all square.
Taylor found trouble at the tricky last where a solid par from Smale was enough to give Kent another point, while David Backhouse for Dorset birdied the last to snatch a half against Howard Moxon.
Cheshire also won all three morning foursomes against Staffordshire and they underlined their supremacy when two of their internationals, Roy Smethurst and Phil Jones won emphatically.
Smethurst covered the front nine in three under par to be 4-up against Neil Portas at the turn and he maintained the pressure to win 6 and 5 as did Jones over John Loader. Jones was 5-up and level par at the turn, won the tenth with a par four and settled the match at the 13th.
Glen MacBryde secured Staffordshire’s first point with a 4 and 3 win over Alastair Brown but another international, George Payne gave Cheshire their sixth point with a 3 and 2 win over Nick Copestick, Brown rounding off proceedings with successive birdies at 15 and 16.
Steve Baker was 2-up against Barry Whitehouse but found himself all square at the turn after the Staffordshire man fired back-to-back birdies at the eighth and ninth. Baker edged ahead again but was taken to the last when a par four settled it in the Cheshire man’s favour.
Staffordshire gained some consolation when Ben Rhodes overcame Phil Slater by 2 holes in the final encounter.
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EGU Media Release