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Wiltshire retain their title
12:53am Monday 1st October 2012 in Local
WITLSHIRE successfully defended the English Men’s County Championship when they tied with Lancashire on a dramatic final day at Beau Desert GC in Staffordshire.
Both counties finished with the same match points but Wiltshire took the title again on games won by the narrowest of margins, 18-17.
After the day’s format had been switched with the singles being played in the morning because of an adverse weather forecast, the final hour before lunch proved to be the turning point between the title contenders.
At that stage it seemed that Lancashire were in control but the closing stages of the singles saw the match swing Wiltshire’s way as they gained a crucial one-point lead, which left Lancashire needing 2.5 points from the three foursomes, in the event managing two wins.
Wiltshire captain David Bauer said: “This is an incredible achievement for such a small county as Wiltshire. To win once, as we did last year, was superb but to defend the title is the stuff of dreams.
“We were quietly confident when we arrived this week but at 12.30 today was the only time I didn’t think we would win. But somehow we turned the match around thanks to Garry Slade (Bowood) winning on the final green and Robbie Busher (Salisbury & South Wilts) coming back from five down to gain a half.
“That half proved crucial and these two lads were the rookies in the team. Garry won all his singles while Robbie was unbeaten in his. All this proves that Wiltshire is producing some incredible talent.”
Lancashire’s Bill Bromilow, in his last match as county captain, admitted: “The better team won. They out-putted us. We gave them a scare this morning but they turned it around in the last few holes which left us needing two-and-a-half points from the foursomes which is difficult to achieve.
“We came here hopeful but that last hour this morning turned it. There were four quality teams here but Wiltshire deserved their victory.”
Having seen their grip taken away in that vital hour before lunch, the Lancastrians knew they faced an uphill task in the foursomes but Mark Young and Paul Kinnear kept their hopes alive with a 5&4 win over Ben Loughrey (Wrag Barn) and Busher.
However, they knew the battle was over when Ali James (Cumberwell Park) and Josh Loughrey (Wrag Barn) gave Wiltshire the vital point when they ran out 4&2 winners over John Carroll and Jon Hurst in the top game.
The final game went to Lancashire’s Paul Howard and Sean Towndrow over Slade and Jordan Smith (Bowood).