Kedleston Park hosted the u16s Midlands County Cup, which features 6 boys from each of the 10 Midland Counties, playing a scratch medal event, with 5 of the 6 scores counting to determine the overall winner.
The Derbyshire team featured 4 players from Kedleston (Henry Hayward, Ben Wain, Tom Weeks & Gavin Ingram) with Tom Allen (Chevin) and Harvey Sands (Chesterfield) making the team. James Lambert (Breadsall Priory) was the reserve.
The day before, the team walked the course with the Kedleston Head Pro, Ian Walley, who did a great job in helping to prepare the players for the event on Sunday. There was an excellent team spirit and the lads were feeling confident, as the conditions were ideal for Derbyshire with the course playing long due to the wet conditions.
On the Sunday, the morning weather was perfect for an Autumnal day and Henry had the honour of hitting the first tee shot of the day.
Henry started superbly, recording a 3 under par 69, with three birdies on the back 9, thereby putting the marker down for the Derbyshire team and the rest of the field. Ben was next out and he too recorded a great score. Playing the 15th, Ben was one over, eventually finishing with a 76. Tom Allen also was going well and was 2 over after 16 holes, finishing with a 77. Tom Weeks played the back nine ‘level’ to record his best ever round at Kedleston (75) and at this stage, it was clear Derbyshire were going to be in the mix at the end.
Warwickshire and Worcestershire were also going well, so we needed a good score from either Gavin or Harvey. Gavin did not have one of his better rounds, but as the youngest member of the team, had done well to be selected and will have learned from the experience that will stand him in good stead for future events. Harvey knew before he played the 15th, that the pressure was on him and he would need to play solidly on the last 4 holes to give Derbyshire a chance. Harvey duly obliged, holing a nervy putt on 17 and finishing with a par on the 18th with a big crowd watching. With the whole of the Derbyshire team together, confusion reigned for a nervy 15 minutes as it seemed that Derbyshire might have lost out to Warwickshire on a count back. But it was confirmed Harvey’s 68 was good enough to get Derbyshire over the line.
With 5 of the Derbyshire players achieving scores in the 70s (or below) and 4 of the team playing below handicap (in a medal event) when the course was playing tough, shows how resilient and focused the boys were.
Derbyshire won the County Cup by a single shot from Warwickshire with Worcestershire a further shot behind. As the only player, in such a quality field, to break par, Henry’s excellent score won the best individual trophy by three shots.
With thanks to; all the team at Kedleston Park (greenkeepers, catering pro team and volunteers) for presenting the club, facilities and the course in great condition, the team at the Midlands Golf Union and especially Neil for the organisation (prior to and) on the day.
My thanks most of all go the parents, players and volunteers within Derbyshire County Golf. This has been my first year managing a great bunch of lads who have played for the u16s. They are a credit to their parents and to the County, they are always wanting to learn and to develop. It has been an honour to spend time with them and to help support the volunteers that make up the County Junior Development Group. To have been able to play a small part in helping Derbyshire County Golf to achieve such stunning results across all the teams, is something special.
The season started with the u16 squad getting together at Alfreton GC and Ben in his inaugural speech as Captain, said to the players that had yet to play for the County “We are Derbyshire and we never give up”. How right he was!