The County First team contested the South East Group League final on October 8th in a match v Essex at Farleigh Court GC.
Having overcome Dorset at Broadstone in July, Kent at Walton Heath in September and the National Champions, Hampshire at Hindhead in August, the team went into our first league final since 2013 in a quietly confident manner, looking for our first Daily Telegraph Salver win since 2011.
2 time County Champion and team Captain for the final time, David Corben led off the morning foursomes with his teenage sidekick, Harry Plowman Ollington. As we have become accustomed to, David & Harry swept aside their opponents by mid morning winning 4&3.
Next up was another teenager, Alfie Fox and his partner Obe Ayton. Despite getting a couple up early on, an Essex birdie run around the turn saw the Surrey pair lose on the 18th green being dormie down arriving on the tee.
Strong finishes in the foursomes from our last 2 pairs, Will Dugdale & David Primrose and Billy Whiteman alongside incoming Captain, Kieran Lovelock, saw both pairings make gains over the last few holes to win their matches 2&1, including majestic approaches to the par 3 penultimate hole from both Will and Billy, followed by winning putts from partners David and Kieran respectively.
This made the score at lunch 3-1 to Surrey.
Captain Corben again led from the front beating talented Essex youngster, Arron Edwards Hill 3&2 in what was to be a birdie splattered afternoon.
Obe sadly was on the wrong end of an Essex birdie barrage from Will Perceval losing 4&2, whilst Harry finished his debut season with a big win beating Callum Pipe 5&3 whilst being several shots under par around the course he learned his trade.
Fellow youngster Alfie again battled valiantly against the experienced Jay Beisser but succumbed 3&2 to more Essex birdies.
The score was now 5-3 to Surrey and the talk on the team radios was about how we could get the vital 1.5 points to secure the win.
The scoreboard at this point didn’t make great reading for Surrey with only Will holding a slender 1up lead after 13, Kieran being all square through 13 with Billy & David both 3 down going into the last few holes despite both being under par, David eventually losing 2&1 with his opponent Brandon Meads having an astonishing 11 birdies over the 17 holes.
Billy lost to another talented Essex teenager, Curtis Knipes to make the scores tied at 5-5 but just a few minutes later following a win on the 14th, Will almost holed his approach at the 16th to beat a dogged Andy May. Surrey 6 Essex 5.
Incoming County captain Kieran was in his usual anchor role and having gone 1 down after the 11th was 1up on the 15th tee. Excellent wedges to the green by both him and his opponent, Ali Plumb, saw both putts narrowly miss and Kieran take his narrowest of leads down the tricky 16th hole.
It was advantage Surrey after the approaches, Ali being 30ft away, Kieran half as near. An Essex near miss followed by an all familiar Kieran holed putt meant he was dormie 2up and secured the League title for Surrey.
Excellent regulation par 3s on the 17th hole from both players in the fading light saw
Kieran close out the match 2&1 and see a final outcome of Surrey 7 Essex 5.
That match was played in an excellent spirit and the players from both sides were an absolute credit not only to their Counties but to the game of golf itself.