Teams of 8 U18 Boys from Gloucestsershire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire and Worcestershire arrived at Stourbridge GC on Thursday 5th April to be greeted by bright sunshine, after months of appalling weather, to contest the 54th playing of the Midland Boys 4 Counties Tournament.
Pictured (back row l-r) Roger Martin (Assistant Team Manager), Alex Band (Vice Captain), James Yorke, Jacke Severn (Captain), Aaron Bryan, and Bill Thompson (County Chairman) (front front l-r) Evan Lewis, Brandon Sarfo, Grenville Rose (County President), Hugh Adams and James Lloyd.
Despite months of almost continual rain and snow, Neil Smith and his greens team had produced a course in truly exceptional condition. Indeed all the boys were to find out that it is not easy putting on smooth, quick (running at 11 on the stimp meter) and undulating greens after spending the last 6 months putting on much slower greens everywhere else!
The format of the tournament is a round-robin event with each match comprising 8 singles matches over 18 holes. The first round of matches was to be held on the Thursday afternoon, with the second round on Friday morning and the 3rd, and final round on Friday afternoon.
The first round of matches saw games between Warwickshire & Worcestershire, and between Staffordshire & Gloucestershire. The Worcestershire Boys came up just short in their match, losing 3 1/2 v 4 1/2, although the result could easily have gone the other way, with 3 matches coming up the 18th. In the other match, Staffordshire defeated Gloucestershire 5 v 3.
Warwickshire v Worcestershire Scorecard
The traditional tournament meal was held on the Thursday evening, with the boys joined by officials from all four Counties, as well as John Devine, President of Stourbridge GC, and David Fourness, Captain of Stourbridge GC. Before the excellent meal, David formally welcomed everyone to Stourbridge GC, and Grenville Rose, the President of the Worcestershire Union of Golf Clubs, welcomed everyone to Worcestershire.
Friday morning, whilst initially a little colder that Thursday, was also dry, and the second round of matches saw games between Warwickshire & Gloucestershire, and between Staffordshire & Worcestershire - pitting the two winning teams from Thursday against the two losing teams! Unfortunately Worcestershire lost 5 1/2 v 2 1/2 against a very strong Staffordshire team, whilst Warwickshire beat Gloucestershire also by 5 1/2 v 2 1/2 in the other match.
Staffordshire v Worcestershire Scorecard
Thus, the final round of matches, on Friday afternoon, would see Worcestershire play Gloucestershire, with Staffordshire playing Warwickshire in the tournament deciding match. The Worcestershire Boys pulled out all the stops in this final match and recorded a solid 5 1/2 v 2 1/2 win against Gloucestershire. In the tight "title decider" 6 matches came down the 18th hole, with Staffordshire finally running out winners by 6 1/2 v 1 1/2.
Worcestershire v Gloucestershire Scorecard
Staffordshire therefore retained the trophy, with Warwickshire in 2nd place, Worcestershire 3rd and Gloucestershire 4th.
Immediately after play the presentations were made, with a few words from David Fourness, Captain of Stourbridge GC, and the presentations made by Bill Thompson, Chairman and Past President of Worcestershire Union of Golf Clubs. Bill was very keen to mention the history of this excellent Tournament, which has been running since 1965 and is the oldest event of its kind anywhere in England. Bill thanked David and John from Stourbridge GC for hosting the event, and for the superb quality of the course. Indeed, as David and John had been present throughout the one and a half days of the event they were well aware that the boys had thoroughly enjoyed playing on such a beautifully prepared golf course.
As well as asking David and John to pass on everyone's thanks to Neil Smith and the greens team, Bill also expressed thanks to the catering team, the bar staff and the professional staff, who had looked after everyone so well over the 2 days. Stourbridge GC could not have been a better venue.
Bill also asked the boys to thank the county organisers, officials, supporters and parents who had enabled the tournament to be such a great success.
Finally, Bill called up James Wilkes, the captain of Staffordshire Boys Team and asked him to introduce his team members, all of whom were presented with their individual winners salvers. The trophy was then handed to James, who was eloquent in his praise of the event, of Stourbridge GC and the various County officials.
Bill finished by reminding everyone that next years event is to be hosted by Staffordshire, with the date and venue to be announced shortly.
Posted on 07/04/2018
by Stuart Pritchard