Yorkshire set a new record in powering their way to victory in the English Boys’ County Championship, beating Berks, Bucks & Oxon 7-2 in the final day’s title decider at Northamptonshire County Golf Club.
In the three-day round robin, also involving Staffordshire and Somerset, the Tykes were in impressive form, conceding just 4.5 points in their 27 games. The classy performance gave them their first title since 2012, their eighth overall and wiped out the memories of last year when they lost by just half a point.
The Yorkshire Boys team (Image courtesy of Leaderboard Photography)
Team manager Philip Woodcock said: “The boys have done really well and I am absolutely chuffed, thrilled to pieces. It makes up for last year!” He also had special praise for team coach Steve Robinson, remarking: “He has done an absolutely fantastic job.”
Yorkshire were in determined mood from the outset and, as they did on the previous two days, won all three morning foursomes.
The perfect score of nine wins out of nine is a new record for the county boys. It left BB&O needing to win five of the six singles and they made sure the games were all hard fought. But Yorkshire edged closer to victory when George Heath (Woodsome Hall), 17, defeated England boy international Conor Gough, 3&2.
Heath, who is 6’ 8” tall, was Yorkshire’s stand out player with six wins from six games. It fell to 15-year-old Ben Schmidt to take the team over the winning line when he beat Taylor Paul 3&2. Schmidt came in to the team when Alex Fitzpatrick was called up by Gt Britain & Ireland and proved his worth, supplying three foursomes wins with James Swash and making a great singles debut in the afternoon.
He took command of his game with a sparkling run from the 7th of birdie, eagle, par, par, birdie to go five up. But Paul pulled one back with his own birdie on 14 and won 15 with a par before Schmidt clinched the victory on 16, for himself and his team. “It’s great, I’m lost for words,” he said. “I had some really good holes to give myself a cushion for the match.”
The scoreline was completed when Swash won 2 up; Charlie Daughtrey halved with Melan Dhaubhadel and Callum Macfie halved with Fraser Bown.
BB&O’s full singles point was won by Harrison Arnold, who beat Michael Hay 2 up, signing off with a birdie four on the last.
YUGC secretary Keith Dowswell added: “It was a great win by our boys especially since we were without two of our top players in Alex Fitzpatrick, who was competing in the Jacques Leglise Trophy for the R&A, and Barclay Brown who was away in the USA representing England. And with the exception of George Heath, who is in his last year as a boy, they will all be eligible to defend the title next year.
“The Union’s aim is to help them be the best players they can be, and thanks to their own dedication and the work of our excellent coaches, that seems to be paying off.”
The victorious Yorkshire team was: George Heath (Woodsome Hall), Ben Schmidt and Charlie Daughtrey (both Rotherham), Callum Macfie (Lindrick), Michael Hay (Hunley Hall), Jack Leversidge (Abbeydale) and James Swash (Middlesbrough).