England Golf: Men’s County Championship

FINALLY DONE IT… Gloucestershire celebrate winning the County Championship

Gloucestershire end 42-year wait for national success

EG: Tuesday Sept 28th

FORMAT: 4-team, round-robin matchplay series

Gloucestershire has had a lot to celebrate in recent years but on Sunday at Remedy Oak they won the title everyone connected with the county has craved.

Forty-two years after their last victory in English Men’s County Championship, Nick Day (Henbury) secured the critical point against his Northumberland counterpart Andy Minnikin (City of Newcastle) to do it again.

Day’s two-hole success meant an overall 5-4 victory for Gloucestershire to ensure they maintained their 100% record. A Minnikin win in the bottom singles match would have handed the title to BB&O by virtue of them having more individual points.

Gloucestershire are enjoying a golden period with recently-turned-pro Joe Long leading the way. His victory over county colleague Joe Harvey (The Kendleshire) in the final of the British Amateur last year was followed by Jack Cope securing the English Amateur crown just a few weeks later.

A LONG TIME AGO: The Gloucestershire title-winning team of 1979

This year Cope (The Players Club) just missed out on winning the Gloucestershire County Championship with the experienced Day denying him in extraordinary circumstances and, for the county stalwart, the victory in Dorset also proved cathartic. He was part of the team that missed out on the title by half a point in 2018.

“It feels amazing – this is redemption for three years ago when we lost to Yorkshire,” Day told England Golf.

“I’m the old man of the team as 1979, when we last won, was the year before I was born.

“We’ve been close before, but these are a great bunch of lads and it’s fantastic to win. It’s a massive big-up to the county from juniors right up to the first team.”

Gloucestershire’s title-winning team:
• Ed Butler (Lansdown) 
• Nick Day (Henbury) 
• Joe Harvey (The Kendleshire)
• Haider Hussain (The Kendleshire) 
• Jake Phillips (Cotswold Hills) 
• Tom Workman (Stinchcombe Hill) 

Gloucestershire started the final round of matches knowing a draw against Northumberland would suffice having defeated Warwickshire and BB&O the previous two days.

And in the anchor singles tie Day won the second and was never behind against the in-form Minnikin.

The Northumberland player’s bogey on 16 was the moment at which Day and his team-mates could start celebrating. It meant he was dormie two and at worst he and his county would tie. 

In the morning the Henbury star combined with Jake Phillips (Cotswold Hills) to put on a foursomes masterclass in demolishing Gary Donnison (Gosforth) and Alex Dixon (City of Newcastle) 7&6. The Gloucestershire duo were six under for their 12 holes.

In the top match Haider Hussain and Joe Harvey (both from The Kendleshire) combined for a 6&4 success and later in the day England international Hussain made it six wins out of six as he went out first in the singles and took down Jamie Mann (Close House) 3&2.

Former Gloucestershire player Chris Wood was quick to congratulate the winners

Playing the same six players that got them qualified back in June, Gloucestershire started brilliantly, making light work of a powerful-looking BB&O six. They lost just one of the nine matches in opening up with a 6.5-2.5 victory.

The next day it was a lot tighter against Warwickshire but Tom Workman (Stinchcombe Hill) and Day came through at the end to secure a one-point win.

Gloucestershire’s success also had extra meaning for Lansdown’s Ed Butler, who had led the way in qualifying back in June. The 41-year-old’s father Simon was part of the team that claimed the title in 1979. That line-up also included a future Ryder Cup player in Gordon Brand Jnr.

Scores – Day One (Foursomes scores in bracket)
Warwickshire (1) 3.5, Northumberland (2) 5.5
Gloucestershire (2.5) 6.5, BB&O (0.5) 2.5
Day Two
Northumberland (1) 2.5, BB&O (2) 6.5
Gloucestershire (2) 5, Warwickshire (1) 4
Day Three
BB&O (2) 7, Warwickshire (1) 2
Gloucestershire (2) 5, Northumberland (1) 4