Men's County Team 2018
Essex V Hampshire
7th October Frilford Heath (Red Course)
Final of the SE Group League
After winning the Northern Section of the South East Group League with a 100% record, the Essex County Team arrived at Frilford Heath Golf Club on a clear, cold Sunday October morning, to take on the South section winners and last year's English County Champions Hampshire in the final match to decide the overall South East Champions and winners of the Daily Telegraph Salver.
With last year's narrow defeat to Surrey in this fixture still burning strong, the Essex lads were in no mood to allow a repeat. Hampshire, however would be a very tough nut to crack and a close match was envisaged. Just how close would unfold in a day of high drama.
As winners of the Eastern Counties Foursomes for the last 2 years, Essex were in confident mood for the morning matches and sure enough all the early exchanges were in our favour. At the turn we were ahead in 3 games with just Callum and Jordan being one adrift. This they managed to turn around and by the 18th were lying dormy 1 up. Callum's tee shot on the 300 yard par 4 saw his 3 wood pin high just off the green making his opponent have no option but to have a crack with driver which he pulled out of bounds left. Game 2 saw Will and Ricky up against Hampshire top pairing Martin Young and Tom Robson. After being 1 up at the turn, the Hants pair won 3 of the next 4 holes with some sparkling golf leaving them 2 up standing on the 14th tee and in confident mood. Ricky and Will had other ideas and won the next 2 holes to square the game. A half was a fitting outcome in a superb game of foursomes and this was to prove crucial in the following struggle.
With Curtis & Arron and Taylor & Ali having relatively comfortable wins in their games, lunch was taken with Essex having a commanding 3.5 to 0.5 lead.
With temperatures warming and Frilford looking a picture, the afternoon singles got underway. It was clear that Hampshire were not for giving up easily as Hants number 1 Tom Robson started with 2 birdies and an eagle in the first four holes to hold a 2 up lead. This standard carried on and Tom ran out a 4&3 winner. In match 2 Will had a 1 hole lead at the turn against last year’s Hants Captain Martin Young but after losing 4 holes on the spin the second point was on the board for Hampshire.
In the other games things were also not going the way of Essex. Apart from Callum and Essex Champion Curtis, who held comfortable leads after 10 holes and Ricky who was all square, all the other matches were with the opposition and tension was mounting.
Sure enough Curtis and Callum secured their respective wins leaving Essex needing one more point to win the Title. With Ricky standing on the 18th tee one up, the final point was in our grasp, but lady luck decided to intervene. With Ricky's iron safely down the middle it was clear that his opponent needed something special so he pulled out the driver. As in match 1 in the morning this was carved left into the car park with a provisional ball taken and the match looking the bag for Essex.
With an ominous looking dent in the roof of a Porsche it was clear the ball had gone OB. After a search however the Hants ball was found some 50 yds over the green next to the practise putting green. After intervention by the England Rules Official, the ball was deemed in bounds by a couple of inches. All this time Ricky had been patiently waiting by his ball expecting the game to be conceded only to now face a 70 yds shot to the green. This he duly did leaving a near 20 ft putt for birdie. The Hants player, young Alex Talbot followed suit. Ricky to go first leaves his putt some 5 ft short and with Alex 2 putting for a very unlikely par this left Ricky with his short putt to win the Title. Horseshoes are supposed to be lucky but with the green surrounded with spectators this one proved to be with Hampshire as the ball somehow stayed out. A half to both players and score 6/5 to Essex with only Taylor Carter left out on the course. Encouragingly for Essex he was one up with 2 to play.
The 17th hole showed just what a talented side Hampshire are, with Sam Parsons making Birdie on 17 the match was all square playing the last. Both made the green in regulation and with Sam making a comfortable par, Taylor was left with a putt virtually identical to Ricky's to seal his match and win the trophy. The green was surrounded and a pin could be heard to drop as Taylor's Putt rolled into the cup for the half point taking Essex to the Title. What a match!
County Captain Andy May thanked Frilford Heath Golf Club for their excellent hospitality and course preparation, also to the England South East Group Officials for their excellent organisation.
Team: (Left to Right) Curtis Knipes (Abridge), Arron Edwards-Hill (Chelmsford), Jordan Slater (Colchester), Andy May (County Captain-Boyce Hill), Callum Pipe (Braintree), Taylor Carter (Rayleigh), Will Percival (Orsett), Ricky Lee (Boyce Hill), Ali Plumb (Chelmsford)
Phil Hulse, County Team Manager
Essex V Bedfordshire 2nd September
Millbrook Golf Club
Report to Follow
Essex V Hertfordshire 1st July
Sunday 1st July saw round 3 of our league program in the England Golf South Eastern Group. This took place at our home venue of Chelmsford Golf Club on a beautiful sunny day. Our opponents were a strong Hertfordshire outfit, who like us, had won both their opening fixtures and were lying in second place behind us by the slenderest of margins. After our victory over them at Hadley Wood last year no doubt revenge was on their mind so we anticipated a tough match in prospect. This match looked a probable title winner for the victors so no complacency could creep in.
The Essex side boasted 4 home picks for Chelmsford in Michael Gilbert, Arron Edwards-Hill, Ali Plumb and Brandon Meads. With Michael off to college in the USA, this would be his final appearance for Essex this year. Along with Arron they teed up first against Herts pair Ben Harman and James Surridge. A close match for the front 9 with the home lads reaching the turn just one up, however with wins on 13,14 & 15 they closed out the game by 4&3, an impressive start. More was to follow with the games of county Captain Andy May and Ricky Lee winning 4&3 then Will Percival and Brandon Meads matching that against the very strong pair of Luke Colgate and Jack Slater. 3 points out of 3 and in the final game with Ali Plumb and Callum Pipe dormy 2 up, a foursomes whitewash was on the cards. However, showing true fighting spirit the Herts pair made birdie on both the final holes to snatch a well deserved half.
3.5 to .5 up at lunch.
Michael was first off in the singles against the putting machine of Laurie Owen and earned a solid 2&1 win leaving only 2 more points required to win the whole match. Herts weren't finished however with Luke Colgate beating Will Percival in game 2, Jack Slater beating Andy May in game 3 and Ricky beaten in game 4 the tide was turning. Deficit reduced with match score standing at 4.5/3.5 all was still in the balance and with Herts veteran James Surridge 3 up with 4 to play in the next game against Callum Pipe it was looking very tight indeed. Callum then shows his mettle winning the 15th and 16th, then an outrageous par from an impossible looking position on 17 to square the match. A half on 18 and game finish all square. So from looking like scores level, Essex clung to a one point lead.Fortunately the last 3 players for Essex of Ali, Arron and Brandon all showed their home course knowledge by each winning their games. Singles score 4.5 to 3.5 for Essex with an overall match score of 8/4 in favour of the Home side.
This win cements our place atop the League virtually assuring our place in the final against the winners of the South section league at Frilford Heath in early October
Our thanks to host club Chelmsford for an immaculately prepared course and first class hospitality.
Next up is the English Golf Mens County Qualifying (6 Man) at Orsett Golf Club on Saturday 14th July
Aron Edwards-Hill, Brandon Meads, Ali Plumb, Michael Gilbert (Chelmsford). Ricky Lee, County Captain Andy May (Boyce Hill), Will Percival (Orsett) and Callum Pipe (Braintree)
Phil Hulse County Team manager
Middlesex v Essex
Northwood Golf Club, Sunday 27th May
Just a week after the successful defence of the Eastern Counties Foursomes title at Skegness saw the first away match of the league campaign for the Essex County side at Northwood Golf Club against Middlesex.
With 3 changes to the team which defeated BB&O in the first League match, in came Jordan Slater, Brandon Meads and reigning Essex Amateur Champion Curtis Knipes. Quite a formidable side with a combined plus 12 handicap.
Jordan and Michael Gilbert went out number one after their excellent performance last week with 3 other strong pairings following. However, the early stages were dominated by the home side on a tight, tricky but wonderfully prepared Northwood course. After 4 holes Middx were ahead in 3 of the matches with only Ricky Lee and Will Percival showing a narrow 1 hole advantage. The slow start by Essex was not to continue, as slowly Essex recovered in all but match 2 with Middx top pairing James Ellis and Tommy King inflicting a 4&3 defeat on Arron Edwards-Hill and Callum Pipe. The other 3 matches all went down to the final hole with Jordan & Michael and Ricky & Will getting points by the slenderest of margins. The final game ended in a deserved half with never more than one hole in it throughout. So, a very narrow 2 ½ to 1 ½ advantage to Essex at lunch which could quite easily been the other way round.
Jordan Slater led the side out for the afternoon singles and soon showed he was the right choice at number 1. After 9 holes he was 4 up against Middlesex leadoff man Tommy King and quickly gained his point with 5 holes to spare. His foursomes partner Michael Gilbert quickly followed with our second point of the afternoon after a 6&4 win over James Ellis
Games 2 and 3 demonstrated the home sides fighting spirit with wins over Brandon and Callum, however the last four matches all showed convincing wins for the Essex side. Singles won by 6 points to 2 and an overall victory by 8 ½ to 3 ½ .
Our thanks to hosts Middlesex, also Northwood Golf club and its members for some excellent hospitality on an immaculately prepared course.
Phil Hulse, County Team Manager
Eastern Counties Foursomes
Seacroft Golf Club Skegness Lincolnshire Sat/Sun 19th and 20th May
This annual tournament comprises 9 Counties competing over 4 rounds of foursomes in teams of 10 players (5 two balls) with each county playing all the others.
As defending champions, Essex were obviously highly fancied. However, with 6 team members missing from last year’s side, (4 of them playing in the Irish Amateur Championship at Royal County Down and our County Captain Andy May deciding that this would be an ideal weekend to get married!!) our own expectations were somewhat of a cautious nature.
New players brought into the squad this year were Shay McQueen, Jordan Slater, Ben and Josh Tobin and Ricky Lee.
Our first match on Saturday morning saw us drawn against Norfolk and BB&O whom we had soundly beaten in the league only 6 days earlier at home club Chelmsford. They were out for revenge and fielded a much stronger team on paper than ours.
A tough session on the demanding links at Seacroft with hard slick greens ended 2 ½ all with BB&O and 3/2 winners against Norfolk with two wins each for new guys Ben Tobin and Ricky Lee and the same for Jordan Slater and Michael Gilbert and 1.5 pts for old hands Will Percival and Callum Pipe, a 5 ½ point haul out of 10 which under the circumstances was a satisfactory start.
We made some changes to the pairings in the afternoon session, and these changes paid dividends with only one loss all afternoon we ran out with 3.5 points from the Leicestershire game and 4 from Cambridgeshire, giving a total for the first day of 13 points leaving us in second place, one point behind BB&O. The scene was set for a fascinating second day.
Sunday morning on another fine and breezy day brought Essex, Bedfordshire and Suffolk together. The lads played some majestic golf, beating Bedfordshire 4:1 and Suffolk 3:2. Another 7 points in the bag and with BB&O being restricted to 5 points, Essex went into lunch with a narrow one point lead.
The afternoon saw Curtis Knipes brought back into the side to partner Ben Tobin for the matches against Lincolnshire and Northants. The feeling was that 7 points would do the job and even 6 had a chance. The early exchanges were going our way and half way through the afternoon we were up in 6 games and all square in 2 with anticipation building.
Early winners for Essex and another 2 points to add to their 6 already gained giving a 100% record were the pairing of Jordan Slater and Michael Gilbert.
With 4 points in the bag from the first four matches the final pairing of Brandon Meads and Shay McQueen came to the 18thhole dormy one up in both games, it was looking like a 6-point haul for the afternoon which would give us a good chance to secure the trophy.
The last hole was a tough par 3 into a strong breeze and a loss of hole to both opponents resulted in just two halves giving us a 5-point haul which we felt would not be enough to win left a group of audibly disappointed Essex players and officials cursing that last hole.
Euphoria returned when we learned that BB&O could also only manage 5 points from their endeavours which gave Essex victory by a slender one point.
Back to back winners of this trophy for the first time and only our 4thwin in the 64 years history of the event. Stand in County Captain Jamie Richards thanked Seacroft Golf Club for their hospitality, fantastic course and superb organisation.
The hat trick is on!
Phil Hulse County team manager
Team: Jamie Richards and Curtis Knipes (Abridge), Michael Gilbert Shay McQueen and Brandon Meads (Chelmsford), Ricky Lee (Boyce Hill), Will Percival (Orsett), Callum Pipe (Braintree), Ben & Josh Tobin (Basildon), Jordan Slater (Harwich & Dovercourt)
ESSEX vs BB&O
Chelmsford Golf Club, Sunday 13th May
Sunday 13th May saw our first League match of the season at our home venue of Chelmsford Golf Club. The visitors, BB&O were our main rivals in 2017 having dropped our only league points in a 6 - 6 draw at Frilford Heath. Our superior game wins just pipping BB&O to the title. This was going to be no pushover, especially as on paper some of our top players were not available.
The course was looking immaculate and after some overnight rain the sun shone bright during the whole of the match.
Chelmsford members Arron Edwards-Hill and Michael Gilbert led off and quickly showed our opposition we were in the right mood with 3&2 win over their top pairing of Ollie Huggins and George Bayliss. This form continued and by lunch, despite some excellent golf from the BB&O pairings, all the games had gone our way with a convincing 4 - 0 whitewash.
This fine form continued into the afternoon singles with wins for Arron Edwrds-Hill, Michael Gilbert, Ricky Lee, Callum Pipe (Callum was 7 under par in winning his game 5&4 ), Will Percival and Jamie Richards. We ran out winners by 6.5 to 1.5 in the afternoon singles. Match score, a very convincing 10.5 to 1.5 win to Essex. A very satisfying victory coming down to some excellent putting on Chelmsford's undulating greens. This bodes well for the rest of the campaign.
Next match will be an opportunity for BB&O to extract revenge in the Eastern Counties Foursomes at Seacroft Golf Club in Skegness on 19/20th May where we will be defending the title we won last year against eight other Counties.
Our thanks to Chelmsford for their usual immaculate hospitality and for their members allowing us the use of the well prepared course, and also to Stuart Gilbert for managing the team on this occasion.
Phil Hulse, County Team Manager
ESSEX AMATEURS vs ESSEX PROFESSIONALS
Frinton Golf Club, Thursday 5th April 2018
After several days of heavy rain prior to this match, all the courses in Essex were effectively closed with waterlogged greens and fairways. Frinton being no exception even up to the day before the game was due to take place. Fortunately the rain abated and with great efforts from Frinton head Green keeper Sam Cook and his team the course was presented in a surprisingly good playing condition with all the pins on the greens and all tees in play.
Both sides had their stars on display with the likes of England amateur Champion Todd Clements, ex European tour players Lloyd Kennedy and Robbie Coles amongst others.
The top match of Clements and Taylor Carter against PGA Order of Merit winner Jason Levermore and Andy Pestell set the tone of the morning in a very close match with the amateur pair coming out with a 2 hole win and with County Captain Andy May with Will Boniface victorious over PGA captain Mark Talbott and Joe Ellis, the Ams had a 2 nil lead. This was not to last however as the Tour experience of Kennedy and Coles was evident in their 4&3 win over Ricky Lee and Ben Tobin and with a win and half in the other two games, the match was finely poised at 2 ½ points each at Lunch.
The afternoon singles were very much nip and tuck for the first 5 games with the Pro’s edging this 3 to 2 . Fine wins for Levermore, Talbott and Kennedy. However, the back end of the field showed the talent of the current crop of Essex Amateurs with the Pro’s only taking another half point out of the 5 available.
Special mention to Jamie Richards in coming back from 4 down with 5 to play in beating Essex Golf Union’s own James Gurry down the 18th.
Afternoon score of 6 ½ to 3 ½ in favour of the Amateurs and an overall victory of 9pts to 6.
Tremendous thanks to Frinton Golf Club members for allowing the use of their course yet again and special mention to Peter Taggart and his catering team, Sam Cook and past Club Captain David Joshua for their hospitality and enthusiasm.
Phil Hulse, County Team Manager
ESSEX COUNTY TEAM v CAMBRIDGESHIRE
Sunday 25th March 2018
After a cold off season , the Beast from the East abated somewhat to allow the 2018 opening match between Essex county side and Cambridgeshire to take place at Stoke by Nayland Golf and spa.
Although a friendly, this match is played for the David Hall Trophy, and is a strong link binding the two counties bringing fierce competition.
Essex selected a very strong side which became apparent as the morning foursomes progressed. At one point looking as though a 6 nil whitewash was on the cards. However some spirited golf by Cambridgeshire turned this around somewhat and the lunchtime saw Essex leading by 4 ½ points to 1 ½ a score which flattered the home side.
The afternoon singles however were a different matter with Essex coming out of the block showing no mercy. With only 1 ½ points out of the 12 available going to the away side, Essex romped to a total win of 15 points to 3.
Special mention to new cap Ben Tobin (Basildon) winning both morning and afternoon.
A warm welcome to Marian Hall and her sons at this annual get together, and for presenting the David Hall Trophy to Andy May the Essex County Captain.
Thanks to Stoke by Nayland hotel and Spa for their excellent hospitality
The Essex team was:-
Andy May ( County Captain) and Ricky Lee – Boyce Hill. Brandon Meads, Michael Gilbert, Arron Edwards-Hill and Ali Plumb – Chelmsford. Ben Tobin – Basildon. Will Boniface – Five Lakes. Curtis Knipes and Jamie Richards – Abridge. Lukas Warren – Thorndon Park.
Phil Hulse County Team Manager