In their final game of the season, the Scratch Team could only manage a 6-6 draw at Letchworth, a result which means relegation back to Division 3.
Needing 8.5 points to ensure survival a strong start was essential, but the morning foursomes were drawn 2-2, with only Louis Matamala & Callum Walker and Steve Fownes & Richard Hill winning their matches. In the afternoon singles, Louis and Richard were winners again, as was Dave Salter in the bottom match, but with Steve Fownes and Eric Keith only able to pick up halves in their games, and Callum, James Surridge and Dave Hopps all losing, we finished up 2.5 points short of target.
This was a disappointing season after the step up into Division 2 last year and the team will be looking to bounce back quickly next year. Next seasons opponents in Division 3 will be Letchworth (also relegated), Ashridge, East Herts, Mid Herts, Mill Green and Whipsnade.
A heavy defeat away at league-leaders Welwyn Garden City on Saturday has left the Scratch Team on the brink of relegation, with just one game remaining. For the second game running, a four-nil morning foursomes defeat left too much ground to make up, and with only James Surridge and Steve Fownes able to pick up wins in the singles, the team were well beaten 10-2 overall.
One brighter note was an encouraging performance from 14 year old Callum Walker on his Scratch Team debut, acquitting himself well against strong, experienced opposition.
This result means that to avoid relegation the team now need to win by at least 8.5 – 3.5 in their last game, away at bottom-of-the-table Letchworth on 22nd September – a very tough task, but certainly not an impossible one.
Best of luck team!
The Scratch Team suffered a disappointing 9-3 home defeat to Old Fold Manor on Saturday. Verulam were comprehensively outplayed in the morning foursomes, losing four-nil, and with only James Surridge, Eric Keith and Steve Fownes able to pick up wins in the afternoon singles the team suffered their first defeat at home in more than 2 years.
The result leaves the team dangerously close to the bottom of Division 2 with only two away matches remaining. Strong performances in both these games, against Welwyn Garden City and Letchworth, will now be needed to avoid an early return to Division 3.
The Scratch Team were disappointed to only come away with a 6-6 draw in their home game against Porters Park on Saturday. Despite a promising 3-1 lead from the morning foursomes, Verulam lost the afternoon singles 5-3 against a strong Porters side who were clearly pleased to find Verulam less hard and bouncy than on previous visits.
The foursomes saw fine wins for Louis Matamala & Gareth Hodges, Eric Keith & Dave Salter, and for new pairing David Dobinson & Calum Marjoram, whilst James Surridge & Tommy Ashton suffered a rare defeat. In the afternoon only James, Louis and Eric were able to win their matches and we were forced to settle for the draw.
The next match is a tough away fixture at South Herts next Sunday.
In their first match in Division 2 for 8 years, the Scratch Team recorded a comfortable 8.5 – 3.5 home win against Brickendon Grange. On a hot but breezy day Verulam won the morning foursomes 3 – 1 and then wrapped up the afternoon singles 5.5 – 2.5. This was a fine all-round team performance, with two excellent wins each for James Surridge, Tommy Ashton, Louis Matamala and Dave Salter. The other points were secured with a win for David Hopps and Eric Keith in the morning foursomes, a comprehensive afternoon win for Calulm Marjoram and a half for captain Steve Fownes.
Our next match is also at home, against Porters Park on 23rd June.
After trailing 4-0 at lunch the scratch team pulled it out the bag to win 8-4. This is the first time Verulam has won this annual fixture since 2006. Well done team!
James Surridge and Tommy Ashton finished as runners-up in the Herts County Foursomes at Old Fold Manor on Saturday 20th August. They scored a superb 1 under par 70 in the morning, followed by 76 in the afternoon to tie for the lead with 3 other pairs on 146. There then followed a 4 way play-off, which was won at the second extra hole by Paul Wilkins and Lewis Watcham from Harpenden Common.
The other Verulam pair of Paul Senior and Dave Salter scored 156 (78, 78), and our total of 302 in the overall team event was good enough for 4th place, just 4 shots behind winners Moor Park.
A comprehensive home win against Mill Green in their final game on Saturday has seen the Verulam Scratch Team secure promotion to Herts Division 2.
After a stunning away win at Harpenden two weeks ago, victory in this final match was always likely to be good enough to claim the Division 3 runners-up spot, behind Porters Park. Verulam took a strong 3 -1 lead from the morning foursomes, and then dominated the afternoon singles to finish up with a comfortable 9.5 – 2.5 win, with all 8 players contributing at least one win. And then 24 hours later, results elsewhere meant that promotion was confirmed, and the team could look forward to a return to Division 2 for the first time since 2004.
Congratulations to all of the 13 players who have represented the team in league matches this season:
James Surridge (unbeaten, with 10 wins and 2 halves)
Steve Fownes (captain)
The Scratch Team lost 9 – 3 away at league-leaders Porters Park on Saturday. In what was always going to be the toughest match of the season, the foursomes were closely fought, but in pouring rain Porters won 3 of the morning games on the 17th, with only James Surridge and Tommy Ashton managing a half. We faired only slightly better in the afternoon singles - the only winners were James (who’s unbeaten run now stretches back 15 games) and Gareth Hodges, with captain Steve Fownes managing a half.
Whilst Porters are now well clear and looking likely Division 3 winners, a win in both our last two matches could well be enough to claim second place and promotion to Division 2. The next game is away at Harpenden on 30th July.
Verulam put in a strong performance in the Knebworth Bowl event at Knebworth GC on Saturday, coming 3rd of 22 teams in the Silver Bowl (nett) and 6th overall in the Gold Bowl (scratch).
On a testing day that ended in heavy rain, our team had individual gross scores as follows
James Surridge 75, 74
Tommy Ashton 73, 74
Gareth Hodges 77, 81
Moor Park won the Gold Bowl, whilst Knebworth claimed the Silver Bowl.