The County 1st team played our first home South East League match of the season against Hampshire at Addington Palace on Sunday August 4th.
Following 2 excellent away wins in Sussex and Dorset we knew that our fate was in our own hands.
Simple. Winner takes all. Surrey win and we would be in our 3rd League final in 7 years, Hampshire win and they progress.
We knew that this Hampshire side would be a tough but to crack but as usual we prepared thoroughly, and on a course that we had won 4 times out of 4 in the past few years, we were confident of a big performance.
Match day was warm albeit a little breezy and the foursomes started on the tough uphill par 3, only after all the players and coaches had been eaten alive by nasty little beasties on the practice strip.
Match 1 pairing for Surrey were County Championship finalists David Corben & Angus Flanagan, both multiple winners in amateur events this year, David in The UK and Angus in the USA, where he is at college in Minnesota.
Although nip and tuck early on, 3 birdies in succession on the 13th, 14th & 15th saw our top pair win 4&3.
Match 2 would see the talented young duo of Harvey Byers & Charlie Crockett take on Hampshire pair Conor Richards & George Saunders.
Surrey led for most of the round but a barrage of late Hampshire birdies meant they nicked the point on the last green, the only time Hampshire had led all morning and the scores were tied at 1-1.
Match 3 pairing for Surrey was Max O'Hagan and Lewis Hinton. Max returning after missing the Dorset match and Lewis fresh from a good run the previous week in the English Amateur at Hankley Common.
The Surrey pair dominated the early exchanges and were 2up playing the tricky 15th. Hampshire birdied and then again on the short 16th to level the match before Max rolled in a beauty for a birdie at the 17th to go up the 18th hole, Crockett’s Way, named after Surrey legend, Simon Crockett who has won the Club Championship Addington Palace some 17 times.
2 solid shots to the green followed by 2 putts for a birdie and Max & Lewis won by 1 hole.
The anchor match was also very tight, Ben Palmer & Harry Crockett being the Surrey pair.
Holes were exchanged through the front nine but mainly halved holes on the back nine saw the boys come up Crocketts Way all square. Both teams missed the par 5 green in 2 and after the approaches it came down to the putts, Surrey narrowly missing and Hampshire holing a tricky downhill putt and we were off to lunch with the scores level at 2-2.
During our half time team talk we felt we had been the better team in the morning and should have had at least some kind of lead going into the singles. The instruction was clear. More of the same, stick to the plan and we should progress.
Harvey would lead us off against England player Billy McKenzie. Birdies were traded all the way round, both players several under par, with Hampshire leading must of the way, but wins at 12 and 13 saw Harvey draw level and only a long downhill birdie putt on the 18th would see McKenzie prevail when Harvey’s effort narrowly slid past.
Angus was up next against fellow US student George Saunders. Again a birdie barrage would see Angus 2 putt for a birdie up the last for the narrowest of victory margins.
Match 3 was Charlie Crockett playing Hampshire veteran stalwart Martin Young. Charlie had the better of the early holes but Young wouldn’t go away and they shook hands on the last green after agreeing to concede short putts to each other.
Lewis was next playing another Hampshire US based player, Conor Richards.
Lewis continued his form from the previous week coming out a solid 2&1 winner.
The youngest Crockett was in position 5, and having been fairly level all the way, a late burst from the home player saw him win 2&1 in his 1st team League debut aged 17.
The scoreboard now showed Surrey had 5.5 points and Hampshire 3.5 and we only needed 1 more point to secure the title.
News had come through that Ben Palmer playing at 6 was 1up playing the 17th, Max O Hagan at 7 all square and David Corben, strategically placed in the anchor role, 1up through 15 holes.
A solid par putt from Ben on 17 meant we would at the very least draw the match but after 2 sublime shots to the par 5 last hole, and 2 putts for a birdie meant Ben won 1up and Surrey were the champions.
Max battled hard all day to lose narrowly on the 18th against the gritty Hampshire player Tom Robson.
David was 1up playing the last, and relieved to hear the news that our victory was confirmed, played the most wonderful flop shot to win 2up.
Surrey 7.5 Hampshire 4.5 and we are off to the final in Bedfordshire in October.
Thank to you Addington Palace for the excellent golf course and hospitality.
County Head Coach