Stoke played at home to Orsett in the second round of the Essex Seniors Championship on Monday 13th May. Orsett were very tough opponents, their top five players had handicaps of 5 or less whereas the handicap of our lowest player was 6. The match was eleven singles matchplay games off handicap and ten of our players received shots.
The game was played in a very friendly spirit on the Constable course on a dry day. Unfortunately a tee buffer was not provided and the eleven singles games were played at a frustratingly slow pace following guest players in fourballs.
All players made a huge effort with a great mood in the team. Orsett got off to flying start winning the first three matches against John Parkinson, Phil Boyland and Julian Lamb. Stoke fought back with wins by Trevor Brace, Tony Carman and Richard Bland to level the score. Barry Hitchcock and Colin Pottle narrowly lost their games as Orsett moved back into the ascendancy. Ian Smith then achieved a fighting half by winning the last two holes. Trevor Warren, playing last, won his match early leaving Steve Tree out on the course needing to win his match to level the overall score. This would have resulted in a play off hole by hole between one nominated player from each team.
Steve was one up on the 17th tee. He stroked a great putt on the 17th green to win his match but it stopped in the jaws of the hole and the two players moved to the 18th with all players from both teams watching intently from the terrace clutching pints. Steve was playing bravely and showing no nerves. Both players chipped onto the green in two, the Orsett player putting first holed an unlikely putt. Steve’s putt narrowly missed and their game was halved.
This meant Orsett won overall 6-5, well played Orsett.
The camaraderie between the two teams was excellent and the Stoke players shared their sandwiches and chips, provided to them by the club, with the Orsett players.