Whoever said that golf was an individual sport has clearly not experienced Ryder Cup golf, nor the sheer enthusiasm of the East Riding Men's Team of 2021. In overcoming a strong Harrogate Team fielding seven players from the host club of Rudding Park, East Riding demonstrated a team spirit that has been evident throughout the season and which has probably earned them a couple of extra points per match.
Tom Broadley and Jake Sowden were making their first appearance for the team in 2021 and Tom Benson was on debut. Two late replacements, George Clark and Luke Thornton were drafted into the team late on the Saturday following injuries to Leigh Gawley and Jacob Hodgson.
In the morning foursomes, Harrogate held the upper hand throughout although, until late on, it looked as if East Riding might achieve parity. Unfortunately, Steve Lynch & Tom Broadley saw their 1 hole lead reversed losing the 16th and 17th to an eagle and par and they were unable to birdie the last, losing by 2 holes.
This added to the losses suffered by Jack Maxey & Matty Raybould (3&2), Lewis Nicholls & Jake Sowden (4&3) and Luke Thornton & Will Storr (4&3). However, Nick Raybould & Jamie Gregory managed to win a hard fought game by 2&1 and after an anxious wait for the Tom Benson & George Clark result of 2&1 (their lead of 4 up after five holes was reduced to only 1 up after fifteen), East Riding lunched four points in arrears.
Foursomes score: Harrogate 8, East Riding 4
East Riding had overcome a six point foursomes deficit earlier in the year against Leeds and Team Manager, Andy Lockwood was confident we could come back again. And so it proved.
The top four singles established the platform for success by winning three of their games; Nick Raybould (2&1), Maxey (1 up) and Gregory (2 up). Matty Raybould was unlucky to lose by 2&1. Scores level 10 points each.
The middle four singles were shared with Nicholls closing out his match 3&1 after a little wobble having been 4 up with 7 to play and Broadley overturned a 1 hole deficit after the 14th to win on the 17th with a gimme birdie 3. Lynch was hit with a barrage of birdies to lose 4&2 whilst Sowden never recovered from a disastrous start, going down 4&3. Scores level 14 points each.
And so the result hinged on the last four singles, all of which featured a player from the Under 18s squad. First to post a result was Storr, 1 up through the 14th, he won the 15th and 16th for a 3&2 win. Next up was Thornton who, having kept his match alive by chipping-in on the 16th, succumbed by 2&1. Scores level 16 points each.
Benson in the final match, birdied the 16th to go dormie 2 and then secured a par on the next to win 2&1. Which left Clark at match number 11 to determine whether East Riding won or halved the match. Having been pegged back to all square on the 17th, he found the middle of the 18th fairway. A superb 6 iron to four feet set up a birdie to win the game and secure the win for the team. He was instantly mobbed by the whole of the East Riding team and its supporters.
Singles score: Harrogate 8, East Riding 16
Match score: Harrogate 16, East Riding 20
What a memorable match! The writer witnessed shots of amazing skill (from both teams), too numerous to detail in this report, was almost decapitated by an errant shot (from a Harrogate player) and was impressed how each player whose match had finished, came straight back out to support their colleagues. It is probably the first match I have witnessed where not one of the eighteen games was halved. In addition to the Team Manager and myself, the team was well supported by President John Chambers, John Illingworth, Steve Thornton, the Clark family and parents of Jake Sowden, Will Storr and Tom Benson.
The result leaves East Riding top of the table with the same points as Sheffield and Halifax/Huddersfield but a better games won and lost difference. In the next round on 15th August we entertain Halifax/Huddersfield at Scarborough North Cliff whilst Sheffield travel to Howley Hall to play Leeds.
In the Player of the Year table, Steve Uzzell is joined by Jack Maxey on 25 points, with Leigh Gawley and Lewis Nicholls four points back on 21.
ERU Men's Team Support