Wiltshire Ladies 1st team shows great progress at South West Inter County Match Week
Some of the best players of the County travelled to Woodbury Park near Exeter, to compete in the annual South West Inter Counties Match Week. 1-5 July 2019.
The last two years had brought disappointing results, and this year, the focus was on a much younger team, which had started preparing for this event back in October 2018.
The team to take on the other Counties was:
Olivia Bannon (Broome Manor), Sarah Gee (West Wilts), Ali Grandison (Chippenham), Jess Hays (Cumberwell Park), Samantha Masters (Broome Manor), Seona Mauchline (High Post), Alex Patton (Cumberwell Park), Ashleigh Thorne (Wrag Barn), Katie Walls (Wrag Barn), Katie Warren (Wrag Barn) with Anne Ferguson (Ogbourne Downs) as the Team Captain.
Excluding the vice Captain (Ali Grandison) the average age of the team was 21.
From the beginning a great team spirit was clearly evident in the group.
On days 1 and 2 we faced the strongest counties of the South West - Gloucestershire and Cornwall. In the morning foursomes sessions, we had chances to take a lead into the afternoons play but were unable to capitalise. In the afternoon against Gloucestershire we dared to dream as 3 of the singles were up at the turn, but unfortunately the game got away from us despite an excellent win for Katie Walls playing at no. 1. The final result being 6-3 to Gloucestershire.
Day 2 brought Cornwall, again Wiltshire were up in 2 foursomes after 9 yet came away with no points despite all games going to the 17th & 18th. A bitter result to swallow. Lunch time saw the arrival of Sarah Gee - who led the team out in the afternoon and straightaway gained a half point for the team. Unfortunately, Cornwall prevailed 6.5 - 2.5.
The team still believed as we headed into Day 3 vs. Somerset. 2-1 down at lunchtime when further cavalry arrived in the form of Katie Warren who helped boost the singles which were shared 3- 3 so the narrowest of wins for Somerset 5-4. The Wiltshire girls were not down hearted, keen to get a result that reflected how well they were playing and how close the matches were.
Devon stood on the first tee on Thursday to face us. Again, in the morning foursomes, there were opportunities to take a lead into the afternoon, but two halved matches and one loss, gave Devon the upper hand. The singles were delicately poised after 9 holes, with Wiltshire up in 3 and one all square - unfortunately one match tipped back in Devon’s favour to once again mean a sharing of the afternoon points and again that horrible result 4-5 against Wiltshire. It appeared that this fickle game would not give our team the result it really deserved, but that was all to change on Friday in the last match vs Dorset.
After an evening prayer meeting and debrief, tails were very much up as the foursomes took to the tee box with Sarah Gee and Ashleigh Thorne playing top. All Square after 9, the tide started to turn in Devon’s favour, but this Wilts partnership does not know how to lose. One down on the 18th tee, Sarah Gee nailed a wedge to 8 feet. While Devon rolled in their par, up stepped Ash Thorne to box her birdie putt. What a half. While the second pairing of Jess Hays and Katie Walls just couldn't manage the same feat, Katie Warren and Ali Grandison came to 18th 1 up. Sadly a 3 putt cost half a point and a 2-1 deficit going into lunch. The girls were in the mood to do justice in the singles matches - domination ensued, winning the afternoon play 5.5 to 0.5. Sarah Gee did the business quickly with an 8/7 win while all of the drama was left to Ash Thorne who nailed her shot on 18 to one foot to win the match. Katie Walls, 2 down with 2 to play, is another player who just does not understand the word ‘loss’. Winning 17 she then went on to calmly hole a 6-footer to halve the match on 18. Olivia Bannon battled back from 1 down on 16th tee to mount the 18th 1 up. A solid tee shot and 2 putts was all it took to secure her point. By this time Jess Hays and Katie Warren were walking in after wins of 3/2. Redemption was complete and reward at last for some great play and a win in the bag 6.5 - 2.5.
Over the week, the girls played with great heart and commitment. Although the team finished 4th overall, the total games won by the team was 20 - just 0.5 of a match behind the 3rd placed County. This is compared with 14 matches won in 2017 and 13.5 in 2018 and shows a great improvement and bright signs for the future.