Jon gets Norfolk off to perfect start
Lyndsey HewisonCounty captain Jon Baker-Odlin delivered the perfect start to Norfolk's Anglian League campaign when he sealed victory in the opening match of the season against Leicestershire at Weston Park.Lyndsey Hewison
County captain Jon Baker-Odlin delivered the perfect start to Norfolk's Anglian League campaign when he sealed victory in the opening match of the season against Leicestershire at Weston Park.
Now he's looking ahead to this weekend's Eastern Counties Foursomes at Seacroft, Lincolnshire - and believes Norfolk can win.
The team for the foursomes is possibly the strongest-ever fielded by Norfolk with the combined handicaps totalling plus-one. The weekend will provide a debut opportunity at this level for Royal Norwich's Jamie Smith.
In the Anglian League match, Norfolk and Leicestershire shared the morning foursomes with two points apiece. The singles scoreline was also evenly balanced until the two captains staged an 18th hole tie-breaker.
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Baker-Odlin had the advantage as he was one-up playing the last and took the point when his opponent missed a 20ft par putt. It meant Norfolk won 6�-5�.
He said afterwards: 'I was delighted to win my match for the overall victory and proud of all the team for their contributions. This was a great team effort with outstanding contributions from Ian Hardy and Luke Johnson who both scored double points on the day. We now have strength in depth and we were able to hold our own and pull clear by winning two of the last three matches.
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'We are now in a confident mood and in a positive frame of mind and taking our winning mentality to the Eastern Counties Foursomes at Seacroft. We are looking forward to the challenge.'
Meanwhile, Norfolk II were beaten on the last putt on the last hole of the last match on the course, when they travelled to Luffenham Heath.
Dunston Hall's Alan Henry almost pulled off a half point for Norfolk with a fighting comeback. He was three down with four to play and battled back to be all square on the 18th tee. However his opponent birdied the last hole to secure the point and a 7-5 victory for Leicestershire II.
But second team captain Nick Paling was encouraged by the overall performance. 'We are competing now, which we hadn't done for a long time, and we are making progress. We're getting somewhere.'
The team is being supported by Norfolk's top professional, Neil Lythgoe of Royal Norwich - and he immediately proved his worth. After Paul Reade struggled in the morning he spent lunchtime of the practice ground with Lythgoe and returned to win his singles on the 13th.