Peter Godsiff: Barwood guides Gloucestershire to the English county finals – again
By The Bristol Post | Thursday, June 21, 2012, 05:00
CURTIS Cup player Hannah Barwood won the vital point to take Gloucestershire's women's team to the English County Finals for the second successive year.
The Gloucestershire ladies team who are now in the English County Finals
A superb second shot over the stream that guards the 17th green finished ten feet from the pin to ensure a 3 and 1 win over Cornwall's Katie Rule. It was the final shot of South West Match Week at Trevose in Cornwall.
Gloucestershire went into the final day following four wins – 6-3 against Somerset, 7-2 against Devon, 6.5-2.5 against Dorset and 7.5-1.5 over Wiltshire and Cornwall. As Cornwall also won four it became a winner-take-all clash.
"It was great for Hannah," said non-playing county captain Karen Rix, the secretary of Shirehampton Par,k who plays her golf at Bristol and Clifton.
"If ever you wanted someone to anchor your team and keep a calm head you couldn't pick anyone better. It was a great week, another tremendous performance and the whole team put up a brilliant show."
No one played better than Shelby Smart, another of the four Knowle players in the side.
She won all four foursomes and her five singles – just as she did in last year's matches at North Wilts.
And once again she gave herself plenty of time to support her colleagues as three of her matches finished on the 12th green against opponents from Devon, Wiltshire and Somerset. The fourth win was merely by 4 and 3.
The toughest test was the most crucial against Cornwall's former champion Sarah-Jane Boyd, an old adversary.
"I'm playing awesome golf at the moment," said the confident left hander.
"The best win was on the final day because it was important for the team and I had the chance of getting revenge over Sarah-Jane who beat me in the quarter-final of the South West Ladies last year."
Rix also praised teenage newcomer Victoria Wakeley-Jones, from Minchinhampton, who won both her matches. Barwood surprisingly lost 4 and 3 to Devon's Emily Tayler, but won eight times.
Lucy Padley (Knowle) won six times in a row, Bethan Popel (Long Ashton) also won six out of eight, Jo Hodge (Kendleshire) lost once from six outings while Alex Saunders (Bristol and Clifton) won three out of four.
The other players were Alison Kelly (Cirencester) with 2.5 points from six and Jemima Gregson (Knowle) who lost twice.
Somerset recovered from their opening day defeat to Gloucestershire by beating Wiltshire 7-2, Devon 5-4, but losing 6.5-2.5 to Cornwall and Devon.
Captain Catherine Nicholson (Isle of Wedmore) won five and lost one of her six matches. Other points came from Hannah Grant (Enmore Park 3 from 8), Amanda Mayne (Saltford) 3 (6), Donna O'Connell (Burnham) 3.5 (6), Becky Gibbs (Burnham) 3 (7), Michaela Chivers (Farrington) 4 (8), Lizzie Stephens (Clevedon) 3 (4).
Gloucestershire take on last year's champions Lincolnshire, Lancashire, Essex, Surrey and the winners of the Midlands group in this year's final at East Devon in September.
Although many of the players were exhausted after a gruelling week, several played in the West of England Championship for the Harper Salver at Bath on Sunday.
Millfield schoolgirl Sophie Keech (Lyme Regis) scored 74 and 75 to beat Katherine O'Connor (Tadmarton Heath) by one shot. Smart shot 75 76 to finish third. Four handicapper Jemima Gregson won the morning gross with 73.