Royal Norwich pair hit back from dead
Royal Norwich pair Dan Henderson and Brian Belshaw pulled off a great escape to win the County Foursomes at Royal West Norfolk.
They were playing together in the event for the first time and eased through the qualifying rounds and into the top matchplay flight in second place.
Their hopes of taking the title seemed dead and buried on the 16th hole of their semi-final when they trailed Chris White and Anton Neal of Hunstanton, They were three down; their opponents were on the green in two; the Royal Norwich pair were long and off the green after three.
But, in a huge swing of fortune, Henderson's 60-footer snaked into the hole, while the Hunstanton pair three-putted to lose the hole. It proved to be the turning point and the Royal Norwich partnership won the 17th and 18th to take the match into extra time.
Two shots later their ball was within four feet of the first hole, while their opponents struggled in a bunkerand Henderson and Belshaw were heading into the final.
'Really, we should never have got through and after that escape we both felt our names were on the trophy,' said Henderson.
In the final they met father and son John and Tom Little from Sheringham, who had defeated Kevin Playford and Jason Wysoczanski of King's Lynn 4 and 3. The Littles were the top qualifiers for the matchplay and were just two-over par when they won their semi-final.
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John is a four-handicapper and 15-year-old Tom plays off eight and is regarded as an excellent prospect.
Henderson, a scratch player, and Belshaw, an 11-handicapper, got off to a quick start with a birdie three on the first and they were soon four up.
The Littles won two holes back but, just when it looked as though they might close the gap further, the Royal Norwich duo scrambled a half on the ninth to maintain their control and went on to win 4 and 3.
The second flight was won by Dan Jones and Andrew Fish of Barnham Broom who beat Kelvin Burns and Ian Sperrin (Gt Yarmouth and Caister) by one hole.
• Championship Flight semi-finals: John Little and Tom Little (Sheringham) beat Kevin Playford and Jason Wysoczanski (King's Lynn) 4 and 3, Brian Belshaw and Dan Henderson (Royal Norwich) beat Chris White and Anton Neal (Hunstanton) at 19th. Final: Belshaw and Henderson beat Little and Little 4 and 3.
• Flight Two semi-finals: Dan Jones and Andrew Fish (Barnham Broom) beat Gordon Knott and Marcel Arend (Royal Norwich) 3 and 1, Kelvin Burns and Ian Sperrin (Great Yarmouth and Caister) beat Paul Savage and Mark Coleman (King's Lynn) 1 up. Final: Jones and Fish beat Burns and Sperrin 2 and 1.