The Ron Freeman Foursomes final and the Wheeler Salver final
It was an exciting weekend in prospect for two of the County’s A team squad with the finals taking place of the Ron Freeman Foursomes at the Links and the Wheeler Salver at Gog Magog.
In the Ron Freeman final on Saturday, Tom Rogers, fresh from his success in winning the John Durman Trophy and the Sharplin Bowl, was partnering his Gog Magog colleague Jack Sears. They were up against County stalwarts Owen Davies of Brampton and Danny Loveday from St Neots.
The following day Tom and Owen would be battling it out again in the Wheeler, the County match play championship.
Jack had to travel up from his new home in Bournemouth for the match and there was some tiredness in the scrappy play of the Gog Magog pair as they reached the turn 4 down. There was a ray of light as they won the 10th to reduce the deficit and a chip in by Sears at the 12th was matched by a fine up and down from their opponents for a half.
The next two holes were halved in pars and it was all over on the 15th hole when Davies holed a 20 footer for a birdie three.
On the Sunday afternoon it was Tom’s chance to gain revenge for the previous day’s defeat when the pair lined up for the Wheeler Salver final on the Gog Magog Old Course.
It would be no easy task as 2 years ago Owen had won both competitions and was looking to repeat the double. He is renowned in the County for being a formidable opponent in matchplay golf. Tom on the other hand has just won the Sharplin Bowl, awarded for the most points in a season playing for the County team in the Anglian League.
It was steady golf for the first seven holes with just one birdie by Owen at the 3rd hole and he stood one up on the 8th tee. He missed his drive leaving it short of the left hand bunker while Tom hit a superb tee shot leaving just a mid iron the the green of the par 5 hole.
260 yds from the green, Owen hit a tremendous shot pin high and when Tom tapped in for his birdie 4, he went on to hole the putt for an eagle to go 2 up.
The next two holes were halved before Owen went 3 up on the 12th with a fine par against the wind.
They both hit good shots into the par 3 thirteenth hole but unfortunately Tom took 4 putts to go four down.
He won the par 5 fourteenth hole with an excellent 2 putt birdie to reduce the match to 3 down.
Unfortunately for Tom he then drove into the right hand bunker on 15 and could only chip it out as Owen fired his 2nd shot pin high just off the putting surface. It looked all over but as we all know golf is a funny game. Tom preceded to hit what he described as one of his worse shots of the day stone dead for a par and Owen three putted for a bogey, Owen 2 up with 3 to play!
It was only a short reprieve though as Tom unwisely took a driver off the 16th tee and knocked it into the cross bunkers and didn’t come out with his first attempt. Owen won the hole with a four and won the match by 3 & 2 to become County Match Play Champion once again.
Commiserations must go to Tom Rogers who has had a fantastic season and should now go on to become a regular in the County A team and win many trophies in the years to come.
For Owen he keeps threatening to retire from County golf with the added pressures of his job and spending more time with his young family but his County still needs him!
Special thanks go to County Secretary Alan Duggins who very kindly refereed both matches.
The final event in the CAGU season is the David Milburn Order of Merit where the top 30 golfers in the merit table play at the Ely City GC on 21st October. It looks like another shoot out between Owen (the holder), Tom and Ed Dimambro who is currently leading the table by a narrow margin.