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Essex lead in women's County Finals showdown
21st September 2012

Essex lead in women's County Finals showdown

Kelly Martin (Image © Leaderboard Photography) 

Essex took the lead today at women's County Finals at East Devon Golf Club and hold the advantage going into tomorrow's deciding matches.

They will win the title if they manage at least a half with their opponents, Lancashire. But if Essex lose, the teams will be tied and the championship will be decided on a countback.

Gloucestershire, also, are hoping to be in the reckoning. They were knocked out of a share of the lead when they lost today but, if there's a countback they'll be in the mix - provided they beat their final day opponents, Surrey.

In today's matches, Lincolnshire beat Surrey 5-4, Essex beat Buckinghamshire 5½-3½, and Lancashire beat Gloucestershire 6-3. It means Essex have 3½ points from four matches, Gloucestershire and Lancashire have 2½ points apiece, Lincolnshire have 2, Surrey 1½ and Buckinghamshire 0.

Essex captain Amanda Colegate-Herbert said: "This is a great position to be in and we'll be putting our best team out and going for a win."

Her team produced something of everything today in their match today:  a hole in one from Kelly Martin (Image © Leaderboard Photography)  - and yet another tense finish before the result was decided.

Kelly had her ace - her third - with a beautifully struck five-iron into the fiendishly difficult 10th green. Its three sloping tiers have played havoc with any number of good shots, but Kelly's ball landed softly behind the flag and rolled back into the hole.

She went on to win her match 7/6. It was one of three comfortable singles wins for Essex, but Buckinghamshire - who led 2-1 after the foursomes - challenged them right to the end of the day.

Essex needed one point from the last two games on the course. Paige Kemp made certain of a halved result for the team when she secured a half in her game. But the win was assured only when Sam Lovell produced a textbook par on the last to maintain her one up advantage.

Meanwhile Lancashire-Gloucestershire clash was an epic, with the advantage swinging backwards and forwards between the two teams.  Early on it was Lancashire who had the initiative, then Gloucestershire took charge, only for Lancashire to take the point with a fighting finish.

Their last three players all won on the 18th green with Eloise Healey - who celebrated her 15th birthday today - sealed the team's win with her point.

"It was a real roller coaster," said Lancashire captain Val Moran. "The scores kept changing all the time and it was so exciting. Now, we've just got to do the business tomorrow!"

Lincolnshire were trailing 2-1 after the morning foursomes but came back strongly in the singles, winning three, halving two and losing only one.

"We needed to get halves from each of the last two matches on the course and we did it," said team captain Cindy Ireland. "It was another nailbiting finish!"

The team are defending champions but realised yesterday that they would not be able to retain the title. "Now we want to finish as high as possible for pride," said Cindy.

Tomorrow's matches: Lancashire v Essex, Buckinghamshire v Lincolnshire, Gloucestershire v Surrey.

Surrey 4 Lincolnshire 5  
Lisa McGowan & Nicola Taylor beat Helen Hewlett & Jessica Wilcox 2/1
Katie Fewster & Tana Churchill lost to Sophie Beardsall & Emilee Taylor 1 down
Inci Mehmet & Annabel Dimmock beat Emily Slater & Emma Tipping 2/1
Mehmet lost to Taylor 3/2
Taylor lost to Wilcox 6/5
McGowan beat Beardsall 2/1
Dimmock halved with Lucy Atter
Louisa Tarn halved with Megan Illingworth
Sammy Fuller lost to Hewlett 5/3

Essex 5½  Buckinghamshire 3½
Gabriella Cowley & Dulcie Sverdloff beat Zoe Fitz-Costa & Charlotte West 1up    
Daisy Dyer & Paige Kemp lost to Clara Leathers & Alice Kozlowski 3/2
Kelly Martin & Sam Lovell lost to Julia Gallagher & Gillian Kinnear 4/3
Charlotte Thompson lost to West 5/4
Cowley beat Fitz-Costa 5/4
Elizabeth Taylor beat Kinnear 4/2
Kemp halved with Kozlowski
Lovell beat Carole Weir 1 up  
Martin beat Leathers 7/6

Lancashire 6 Gloucestershire 3
Catherine Roberts & Gemma Batty beat Hannah Barwood & Jo Hodge 2/1
Elizabeth Stebbings & Sophie Powell lost Shelby Smart & Bethan Popel 3/1
Eloise Healey & Sophie Lamb beat Lucy Padley & Victoria Wakeley-Jones      5/3
Roberts beat Barwood 4/2
Bethany Garton lost to Smart 3/1
Batty lost to Padley 2 down
Lamb beat Jemima Gregson 2up
Healey beat Popel 1up
Stebbings beat Hodge 1 up


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