Revitalised Norfolk get Anglian League campaign off to a flying start
- Credit: Archant
Norfolk put last summer's disappointing Anglian League campaign firmly behind them by making a flying start to the new season.
A match against a strong Lincolnshire side was a big challenge for new skipper Simon Clark and his team, even with the advantage of playing at Great Yarmouth and Caister.
But an experienced line-up featuring four ex-professionals did their county proud, ending a long wait for a victory stretching back to 2017 with a 7½-4½ success.
Boosted by some good practice sessions Norfolk were quickly out of the blocks and took a vice-like grip on proceedings by winning all the foursomes.
Each match was close, but George Morris and Ben Rawsthorne (2up), Jon Baker-Odlin and Tom Carding (2&1), Clark and Warren Bates (3&1) and Carl Green and Thomas Nudd (2up) all prevailed for a stunning 4-0 lunchtime lead.
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Lincolnshire came out fighting in the afternoon and a tense back nine ensued, but three victories and a half were enough to seal a home win. Bates (4&3), Nudd (2up) and Clark (1up) were the winners while Carding shared the spoils.
There were defeats for Rawsthorne (3&2), Morris (1 down), Baker-Odlin (3&2) and Green (6&5) but an excellent team effort had seen Norfolk home.
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"I was really pleased with the team we put together but you have still got to do the business out on the course and I thought it was an excellent performance against a very good side," said Clark. "It's great to start with a win and now we will be looking to follow it up against Cambridgeshire in our next match (at Gog Magog on June 2).
A good day for the county was completed when Shaun Larkins' second team beat their Lincolnshire counterparts by the same margin at Boston.
Jamie Smith was suffering from a stomach bug but battled through with Mason Bernstein, making his debut at the age of 15, to record Norfolk's first point. Richard Wilson and James Hazel also won to make it 2-2 at lunch.
In the singles all the games were close, but wins for Kale Heath, Bernstein, Iain Yule (6&5), Hazel (on the 17th) and Larkins (on the 18th) completed the win, with the hosts sportingly agreeing a half for the unwell Smith.
Attention now switches to the Eastern Counties Foursomes at Seacroft in Lincolnshire this weekend where Clark is hoping for another strong showing.
A dream start set Rushmere's Will Farley up for victory in the latest Norfolk PGA pro-am at Swaffham.
The final starter opened up with an eagle three on the first which proved handy as a level par round of 71 sealed a narrow win.
Lee Patterson (Royal Cromer) and Mark Allen (Eaton) both returned 72s to finish joint second, with the top six being completed by Chase Davis (Eaton) on 74 and Joe Lambert (Dunston Hall) and home player Nic Cains on 75.
Teams: 128 - Joe Lambert with Tyler Crosby, Warren Green and Ray Clark, 129 Nic Lucas (Dunston Hall) with Kane Hindle, Scott Sealey and Bryan Smy, 131 Mark Allen with David Lansdale, Tony Bailey and Mark Taylor. Order of Merit top five after three events: Chase Davis 19, Nic Cains 18, Mark Allen 17, Lee Patterson 12, Matthew Bacon 10.
Beckett at Blofield
Alex Beckett has joined the team at the Norfolk Premier Golf Centre as head PGA professional.
He will be offering coaching and custom club fitting at the Blofield venue, which boasts a nine hole course, driving range, adventure golf course as well as a golfing superstore.
"When the opportunity was offered I was excited to think that I could really enhance the already established business," said Beckett, a former Europro Tour player who first took up the game at Eaton.
Playing took a back seat for three years as he studied towards gaining a degree in golf, leading on to his first professional job at Barnham Broom.
On Monday, May 27 there will be a Family Festival of Golf where he will be offering free group taster lessons. For more information email email@example.com or call 01603 714848.
Sheringham professional Will Harrold at last has something to smile about after a tough spell on the Web.com Tour in the United States.
A run of missed cuts came to an end when he finished in a tie for 53rd position in the KC Classic in Kansas City.
After making the cut on the mark with a couple of 73s Harrold made solid progress over the weekend, with a pair of 71s leaving him at level par for the tournament.
He now has nearly $7,000 (about £5,400) of prize money to his name ahead of this week's Knoxville Open in Tennessee, which got under way yesterday.
Norfolk Under-18s played their first match in the SE League North Section at Dunstable Downs.
It was a triumvirate format against Bedfordshire and Suffolk and the windy conditions proved a big challenge, with the hosts coming out on top.
Representing Norfolk were Ben Terry, Ethan Richmond, Joe Crane, Kieran Myatt, Jamie Fox, Sean Rafferty, Mason Bernstein and Ewan Marshall.