While the Pro's battled for supremacy at Walton Heath, the County were battling with another worthy adversary round the corner at the very pretty Reigate Heath Golf Club.
One of my favourite little tracks in the country, Reigate Heath is a 9 hole heathland course played from 18 tee boxes.
Tight, tough, and always in great condition, I've often referred to this place as a 'Mini Sunningdale' and worthy of its place inside the Country's top 100 list.
Bright sunshine with a moderate wind was a complete contrast to the previous few days in the area, and we took full advantage of it!
Youngster Peter Baeg and myself led the team out for a faultless display of top level golf hitting every fairway and 12 of 14 greens as we shook hands on the 14th green wining 6&4 against an excellent team of Rob Wicks and Reigate Heath's lowest handicapper Luke Crampton.
Peter, who's never played Reigate Heath before simply followed instructions brilliantly as I said, "hit this club to that spot!"
I'm not sure he even realised it was a heathland course full of heather as he only played shots from the middle of the fairway!
Something my usual foresome's partners aren't so accustomed too! 😂
The second match was an excellent grudge game with two former Heath members James Molenyux and Gareth Whiting-Balcombe this time playing for Surrey.
Father and Son team Hugh and Charlie Maurice quickly put them in their place though as they were sent packing 2up by the home team.
Phil Brittain helped another newbie to the Surrey squad as his cunning and experience helped youngster Jamie Harris to an excellent first time win 2&1.
To top the morning's foresomes off for Surrey, Statesman Keith Collins and County Champ Jacob Aaholm clinched the final morning match 2up to take a 3-1 lead heading to lunch.
Lunch...... Or as I like to call it at Reigate Heath..... Fine dining, exquisite food, an excess of red wine and at least 2 bottles of 'The Captain's Port'! Went down superbly.
This is something the home side have plenty more practise at than us, because, as the port was handed around, the home team seemed unphased about the score deficit going in to the afternoon singles!
Some..... might even say smug! 😉
Let me tell you..... They weren't wrong!
Leading the afternoon singles out, I started par, par, par, birdie and still found myself 1 down walking onto the 5th!
Again playing against Luke, his equally solid start and eagle on the 4th showed his intent!
As the story continued deep into the round, I found myself 3 down with 4 to play and recapped Luke mentioning in the morning how much better he plays after a few beers at lunch!
Looking back, the match behind us was no where to be seen....
Phil Brittain was playing the very experienced and multiple times Reigate Heath Club Champion Hugh Maurice.
Hugh was 1 up playing the 10th, and as we walked down the 15th we couldn't see them anymore....I feared the worse!
With this in mind, I had to dig deep and maybe find a way to make the score a little bit more respectable.
Suddenly, I found a higher gear and birdied the next 3 holes to level the match up playing the last.
It then came down to this...... A tricky 15 footer straight down the hill for the half.... Watched on by the current County Champ Jacob Aaholm, I picked a line, stroked the putt and held my breath.... Done..... Halved......phew!
Now to find out how the others faired....
It wasn't good..... Surrey was trailing badly in the singles and the overall score was all tied with just one group left still out there.
James Molenyux was playing his old side and former teammate Rob Wicks for the title.
Starting on the 4th in the afternoon to speed the day up, James's head was down walking up to the 18th green (their 15th hole).
Then, as his par putt went sliding past the hole, it was overtaken by his putter as it went hurtling towards his bag!
"I'm Dormy 3 down!!" He said to Jacob as he headed towards the 1st.
Fortunately, James can't count as we later found out he was only two down and won the next two holes to square things up.
The half came at the last as he calmly rolled in a tricky 18 inch putt from just above the hole.
A putt he told me afterwards he really didn't fancy and was rather hoping Rob would give it to him!
It was a fitting end to a great match....
Reigate Heath 6
Surrey A Team Captain
and the lunch was superb too!
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