Northern Counties Match Week 2022

Heswell Golf Club, Gayton, The Wirral. 27 - 29 June 2022

Defending Champions from 2021

Day 1 Report

Yorkshire came to Heswall as defending champions of Northern county match week.
With a new format of championship, two foursomes and three singles matches per session, per county, it was always going to be a wide open contest and so it is proving.
Yorkshire took on Northumberland in their opening match. Northumberland were without Jess Baker for this first match, there star who won the Women’s Amateur Championship at the weekend. Despite this they proved to be very tough competitors with three matches going to the 18th.
The first points on the board went to Yorkshire. Abigail Taylor and Katie Stephens gave a master class in foursomes play demonstrating superb communication and support and proving a formidable duo. They had a 5 and four win .
Two stalwarts of the Yorkshire team Megan Wileman and Nicola Slater took their match to the 18th and managed to snatch a well deserved half after a tussle with Jane Lomax and Coralie Bertelsmann Watson. It was great to see Wileman back in the Yorkshire fold after becoming a mother to a son last year. She has lost none of her passion for the game and along with Slater makes a great partnership.
Yorkshire’s Lily Hirst took on top Northumberland performer Rachel Gourley in the top singles match and it was nip and tuck all the way round. Hirst was unfortunate to have a put lip out on the 18th for the half. She could be proud of the way she played and she didn’t let the defeat get to her as can be seen from her performance in the afternoon match.
Hannah Holden from Huddersfield Golf club had a hum zinger of a match against Zara Naughton. She had a put for the match on 17 and had a lip out which took her up the 18th. Unfortunately she put her second in the bunker and finished up losing the hole to halve the match. Clearly disappointed she showed real grit and determination in her afternoon match.

Mia Eales Smith took on Rebecca Ferguson and was clearly a little out of sorts from the off. The runner up in the Yorkshire Championship was not at her best and suffered a 4 and 2 defeat. First blood to Northumberland 3 games to two.

In the afternoon Yorkshire took on Cumbria. The Yorkshire team came out all guns blazing and quickly established leads in the top 4 matches.
Taylor and Stephens were imperious and they played some majestic golf running out winners with a stunning 6 and 5 win. Not a bad day for them.
Wileman and Slater the lead pairing also played spectacular golf, hitting greens in regulation time after time. They ran out winners in their match 5 and 4.

Lily Hirst played Cumbria's Harriet Barker and delivered a solid win 5 up and 4 to play.
Hannah Holden also maintained her mojo and after chipping in from 15 yards on the 9th went on to conclude the match on the 10th hole 3 up and 2 to play.
The tough match in this afternoons session was for Yorkshires Cherry Marley who played the experienced Caitlin Whitehead. was having her first experience of County match week and despite suffering a defeat 4 up and 3 to play will emerge all the stronger for it.
A good afternoons work for the Yorkshire team, running out winners 4 games to one.
Its Durham and Cheshire tomorrow which will certainly see some more closely fought matches.

Day 2 Report

Where to begin?
Inspired by the 4 games to one victory over Durham the day before the Yorkshire team came out all guns blazing for the morning match against Durham.
Amy Staveley the youngster from Ganton took to the tee for the first time alongside 15 year old Cherry Marley from The Oaks. This was a new pairing for the Yorkshire team, untested in competition but not practise. The pairing looked comfortable with each other and they really looked like they were simply enjoying the game of golf never mind it being a highly competitive environment. Their confidence carried them on to victory with a 2 and 1 win over Durham’s Stacie Morton and Millie Hixon.
Next up was another new pairing, seasoned veteran (not in age) Hannah Holden was partnered with Aaliyah Hryniewiecka-Irwin experiencing her first County match week and her first time teeing off for the first team. A little nervous in the early holes, Holden managed to steady the ship and give the youngster confidence which led them to a 4 and 3 victory. Foursomes pairings working well.

The singles matches were similarly inspiring with the Yorkshire team looking supreme.
Mia Eales Smith started the ball running with a phenomenal 9 and 7 win against Durham’s Gabrielle Dickinson. This early win must have inspired her team mates.
Nicola Slate,r who was playing the top quality player, Jess Hall battled hard in a closely fought match and ran out the winner 2 up.
Megan Wileman fought hard and was behind in the early stages but snatched a victory on the 18th.
A superb morning’s work for Yorkshire 5-0.

In the afternoon the team took on home based county Cheshire.
Three players rested in the morning session took their place on the tee.
Katie Stephens and Abigail Taylor from Middlesbrough and Headingley took on Emily McBurney and Lauren Jones. It was a nip and tuck match with the Cheshire duo gaining an early advantage only to lose it in the later stages of the match as the Yorkshire pair found their form. With the wind picking up it made conditions testy.
The match was decided on the 18th with the Yorkshire duo suffering their first loss of the week.

Marley and Staveley were out again trying to repeat their solid performance of the morning round. They were playing the very experience pair of Rian Moores and Sara Spencer. Some quality golf from the youngsters saw them deliver a comfortable win to win the match 4 and 2. Honours even in the foursomes.

The singles saw Cheshire Champion Lucy Jamieson playing at her home club take on friend Nicola Slater. Slater could not repeat the form she demonstrated in the morning and Jamison was the victor on this occasion 5 and 3.

Mia Eales Smith took on Victoria Turner and took an early lead but had a bit of a wobble in the latter half of the round giving an opportunity to Turner to get back in the game. Turner failed to capitalise and Eales smith consolidated a superb day’s work with a victory coming on the 17th hole 3 up and 1 to play.

2 points each with one match remaining.
Outlane’s Lily Hirst was four down against Imogen Williamson for much of the match and Cheshire must have thought they were cruising to victory. Never underestimate Lily Hirst a straight forward, dependable Yorkshire girl and huge asset to the team.
She started her come back on the back nine and the four hole advantage was soon whittled down, going all square on 16. It looked like the 17th was going to be a half with both girls on the green with puts a couple of yards from the hole. Hirst putted first and had a lip out-ouch!! Williamson looking confident slotted it in the hole. A huge cheer went up from the impressive Cheshire gallery. One down with everything to do for the Yorkshire player.

Both players hit solid drives up 18. Hirst played a beautiful second shot to within 10’. Williamson hit to the side of the green and had to chip on.
A beautiful composed put from Hirst went straight in the hole-game halved and match halved. The Yorkshire girls were ecstatic!
Roll on Lancashire in the final match-let battle commence.

Day 3 Report

The sun was shining for the final day of Northern County Match week.
It was early breakfasts for the Yorkshire team as they were teeing off at 8.30am against old rivals Lancashire. The Yorkshire team went into this match knowing a win was essential if they were to have any chance of being in the running for the trophy.
Lancashire went into it knowing a win would deliver the trophy.

As Captain of Yorkshire this year I can tell you that this team displayed true Yorkshire grit. The lead foursomes match saw Hannah Holden and Nicolas Slater doing battle against undefeated pairing Catherine Roberts and Lauren Oatley. The Yorkshire pairing took an early lead and held it for much of the match. Going down the 17th 2 up really put the pressure on Lancashire to deliver a champagne shot into the green over the water. Sadly it was not to be as Lancashire fell short and heard a splash!
Yorkshire had played for safety and were happy with a shot over the back. In the event it meant hole to Yorkshire and the first win on the board 3 and 1.

The second pair, youngsters Abigail Taylor and Katie Stephens turned in another awesome display to make it 3 wins out of 4 matches in the competition. They beat Sofia McGhie and Mia Clark 3 and 1. It was all happening at the 17th hole which happened to be Heswall’s hole 11 because of the two tee start. 2-0 to Yorkshire after the foursomes.

At this stage the Yorkshire players started to be aware that Cheshire looked on target for a 5-0 win against Durham , this meant 4 wins were necessary to be in with a shout.

Mia Eales Smith continued her normal routine of focussed, determined golf and carved out a win on the 18th 2 up against Lancashire’s Lauren Green. The third win in the bag. Could Yorkshire do it?

The final two singles players were Amy Staveley and Lily Hirst.
Staveley could not capture the golfing genius she demonstrated in the Yorkshire Championship at Alwoodley earlier in the season and went down 4 and 3.
All eyes turned to the final match Lily Hirst against Lancashire’s Ana Dawson.
Hirst was 1 up teeing of the 11th (hole 17 in the match) a steady par would surely have delivered a win? Unfortunately the water again came into play only this time it was Yorkshire in the water not Lancashire. As a result, Hirst was 4 on the green.
Dawson also played a weak shot which saw her ball rolling back dangerously close to the water. She scrambled well and after swinging three different clubs finally chose the right one which saw an immaculate shot on to the green. The hole went Dawson’s way.

A nail biting finish.
As the rain came down heavily for the first time this week Captains Alison Tracey (Yorkshire ) and Jackie Hesketh (Cheshire) had a heartfelt embrace at the side of the 12th green knowing that the winner of the match would probably deliver the trophy. It went Cheshire’s way with Dawson winning the hole.
Not Hirst’s day today but a valiant effort.

It was a tremendous effort from the Yorkshire team. They got right back into contention after a defeat on the first morning’s session. They demonstrate all that is good in golf, passion, team spirit, commitment - Nicola Slater missed her graduation to play - drive and inspiring golf. Well done Team Yorkshire, deserved runners up in the 2022 County Match week. Congratulations to Jackie and the Cheshire team.

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