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On Sunday 14th April Sussex County under 14s were hosts to their county opponents from Suffolk at Mannings Heath Golf Club. The inter-county match started in 2012 with a visit to Suffolk and it will now become a permanent annual fixture.

Unfortunately for Suffolk, the weather for their practice on the Saturday was not so welcoming with torrential rain making it impossible to complete the round but when better weather dawned on Sunday (literally – first tee time 8.10) the previous day’s deluge was forgotten except for the conditions underfoot.

Nine holes foursomes on the Kingfisher course started the day and after some close matches, the score stood at 2.5 matches each. In the leading match the Suffolk pair of Jack Cuthbert and Jai Gayle got the first points on the board with a 3 &1 victory over George Mills and Tom Welch but that was soon equalled with a strong win by Lucas Durrant and Harry Worner 2 up over Jack Orris and Harry Fricker. Suffolk edged ahead again in the third match with a 3 &1 win for Jude Everett and Jamiee Hurren over Joel Funnell and a struggling Joe Fradgley. The two Sussex Joshuas – Hardy and Davis – fought out a hard earned 1 up win in the next match so it all came down to the last pairs on the course. Sussex’s Charlie Hilton and Kane Fernando had a few opportunities to win their match but a tenacious Suffolk pair of Alfie Halil and Harvey Watts got back to all square with just the one hole to play. In the end, after two typically flashy and unsuccessful Mickleson like flop shots from the edge of the green, it was left to a monster putt from Charlie to secure a half which was almost snatched away when Suffolk just missed their par putt. So a highly nutritious lunch of sandwiches and chips tasted a bit better and chips have never been demolished so quickly!

The afternoon singles started with the three Sussex reserves teeing off first (reminding everybody that we have talent outside the team that played on Sunday) and nerves were pushed aside as all three hit their drives down the middle. Will Townsend, Jake Stoneham and Rae Bicknell had their own individual matches and Will and Rae proved a touch strong for Jake on the day and Will had a strong finish to halve his match with Rae. Good stuff as the appetiser for the match.

In the match itself, George Mills put his disappointment at his morning loss behind him to beat Suffolk’s Captain Jack Cuthbert to get the Sussex team off to a good start but Tom Welch came up against an in form Jai Gayle to lose his match. Lucas Durrant (Sussex) continued his morning form with a great ball striking performance to win 5 & 4 over Jack Orris – when his putting is as good as his ball striking, his play will be really good! Harry Worner (Sussex) had a great match up against Harry Fricker losing 2 down on the last hole but after the next two matches with Joe Fradgley ( a different Sussex player than in the morning) and Joel Funnell (Sussex) getting comfortable wins against their morning winning opponents, it looked good for Sussex who were now two points ahead. In another reverse, the winning Sussex Joshuas from the morning lost each of their matches to the Suffolk boys – Ben Uttridge and Tom Fowler which again tied the match up. As the other two matches - Charlie Hilton (Sussex) against Alfie Halil and Kane Fernando (Sussex) against Harvey Watts had already finished in good wins for Charlie and Harvey, the overall match score finished in a 7.5 -7.5 draw.

Men of the match –for Suffolk Jai Gayle but a special mention for young Alfie Hilal who suffered from the playing force that is Sussex’s Charlie Hilton.

Men of the match for Sussex –two – Charlie (I can putt in from anywhere) Hilton and Lucas (I wish I could putt) Durrant .

Great performance to all the boys whether winners or losers and it was all very enjoyable to watch and this time not in freezing weather.

Mannings Heath Golf Club looked after the teams well and sticky toffee pudding disappeared off the dinner plates very quickly! Thanks to the Club, to Suffolk players and Managers as well as parents for making the long trip, and to the Sussex supporters for doing your bit too. Thanks to County President for coming in the afternoon and to John Wilson for doing a stellar starting job.

Look forward to Suffolk next year for the away match for quite a few of you.

Ian Jaggard

Team Manager

 Please click here for a match result sheet

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