Gloucestershire clinch the English Women’s County Championships for the first time in the tournament’s history!
Representing the South West region, Gloucestershire’s Captain Andra Knight said: “I can’t believe we’ve done it, I’m overwhelmed. What a team! The players have gelled together all week and they just fought and fought and fought.
“The golf was excellent and intensely close with five of the day’s nine games decided on the 18th.”
Stephen Millett, President of WGC said: “What a fantastic result for the Gloucestershire team having come so close in the preceding years.
“All the teams played impressive golf in true sporting spirit, and it was a great pleasure for Waterlooville to play hosts to one of the most prestigious tournaments in the England golfing calendar.”
Blow for blow
The South West champions made their move early, taking a slender lead when they won the foursomes 2-1, holding their nerve to take their points on the 18th green.
The first two singles of the afternoon illustrated the great determination of both teams. Alex Giles finished her game par, birdie to win the last two holes and snatch a half for Gloucestershire. Then Alison Knowles produced exactly the same finish to grab her half for Yorkshire.
Behind them, the players were trading blow for blow. Gloucestershire’s Bethan Popel won the clash of the England internationals, beating Olivia Winning 3-2. Megan Clarke replied, winning her game 3-2 for Yorkshire.
Two games to go to decide the destination of the trophy. Yorkshire’s Rochelle Morris was on course for a 2-1 win in the bottom game and the outcome of the championship rested on the clash between Gloucestershire’s Becky Gibbs and Hannah Holden.
Becky won the 16th to go one up with two to play – and stepped into unchartered territory having won all her previous matches before this point. She lost the 17th after her drive found trees on the right but she took charge on the 18th, reaching the green in regulation three shots, while her opponent tangled with the rough around the green and a bunker. Becky won the hole, finished her match 2up – and the Gloucestershire celebrations began.
Becky, who finished five-under, said: “I enjoyed it, but it was stressful. I knew it was all on me because I like to know what’s going on. I just really wanted to do it for all of them and it’s amazing.”
Glouchestershire’s Team coach Kirsty Taylor added: “We are just a great team. We have worked together on team building and it’s taken a while to bring it all together but they all deserve this. This is a young team which is growing, it’s been a work in progress for a number of years, and how good will they be next year?”
Yorkshire captain Dawn Clegg commented: “It was an excellent match, very tight, and both sides played extremely well. All credit to the girls.”
Norfolk made their first appearance at County Finals for 42 years and marked the occasion by winning the battle for third place with an emphatic 7.5-1.5 win over Buckinghamshire. The teams shared the foursomes but Norfolk won all six singles.
Team captain Tracey Williamson said: “It’s a superb effort to finish third. This is the first time a lot of our girls have played at this level and we will be able to build on the experience.”
Final Placings: 1 Gloucestershire, 2 Yorkshire, 3 Norfolk, 4 Surrey, 5 Buckinghamshire, 6 Staffordshire.