SUSSEX and Yorkshire got their campaigns off to a flyer with victory on the first day of the English Senior Men’s County Finals, at Surrey’s Effingham GC.
Last year’s runners-up Sussex beat Lincolnshire 5-4, while Yorkshire – the 2017 champions – fought off a gutsy Dorset side to put their two points on the board thanks to a 51/2-31/2 scoreline.
Sussex showed their early desire to claim theit first English Seniors County Championship when they whitewashed the Midland Champions in the three morning foursomes against a Lincolnshire side slow out the traps.
Victories for Steve Graham and Martin King (pictured), Martin Galway and Martin Cawte and Doug Park and Colin Jones set Sussex on their way.
Lincolnshire hit back in the afternoon singles with Tim Seaton seeing off Graham winning the 17th to make it 3&1 after England Seniors international Paul Wharton had gone 6&5 up against Mark Logan in the third match to make it 3-2 to Sussex
While that redressed the balance after their slow start Galway hit back for the South East Champions with a 3&2 win over Lincolnshire’s Les Tyone.
Park added with the winning point for Sussex when he saw off the threat of Woodhall Spa’s Richard Latham, a former captain of the Hertfordshire men’s team some 20 years ago, by the same scoreline.
Colin Trestrail earned the final individual plaudits of the day for Lincolnshire with a win on the 18th, but it was Sussex left celebrating their first win of the week.
It was the ideal start for a county still smarting at losing out to Lancashire in the final moments of drama a year ago.
Yorkshire, though, will be formidable opponents in the final two days of action.
Dorset – looking to finish higher than their third place in 2018 – had shown they meant business by halving the morning foursomes thanks in part to a victory for Tony Coles and Ashley Bennett over England international Rich Jones and his colleague Johnny Lawrence.
John Smith and David Barton also earned a half point when another England international – Richard Norton – and his partner Alan Wright were held to a tie.
Andy King and Ian Clarke’s 8&6 win over Gary Earl and John Pounder restored parity at lunchtime before the afternoon singles took to the course with the match poised at 11/2-11/2.
Jones, Stephen Mason (pictured below) and King did their jobs with early wins for Yorkshire. Gary Earl claimed the notable scalp of Norton to pull one back for the South West Champions.
Ian Clarke’s victory over David Barton helped take Yorkshire over the line before the final match of the day ended with a Dorset win for John Smith over the Northern Champions’ Mark Lawson.
•Sussex will take on Dorset while Yorkshire face up to Lincolnshire on Wednesday. For live scoring click here.