Anglian League

Northamptonshire’s Men recorded contrasting results in the opening round of fixtures against Lincolnshire in the Anglian League as the first team won 7-5 at Overstone Park GC, but the seconds lost 8-4 at Holme Hall GC.

After remaining unbeaten in their pre-season friendlies with Bedfordshire and Warwickshire last month, Northants first team (pictured right) made an understandably confident opening as they dominated the morning foursomes.

Lee Hitchcock and Taylor Sargeant bagged a 3&2 victory, Ryan Genner and Jack Brown won 2&1, Fraser Carnihan and Liam McNeela came good on the last hole, while Mark Stockdale and Jenson Parfitt picked up a half.

Stockdale extended the home advantage with a big early victory in the singles, before Parfitt and McNeela confirmed the Northamptonshire win by clinching games three and four on the 18th hole.

The visitors, who clinched the Anglian League last year, managed to reduce the deficit by winning four singles matches but Fraser Carnihan’s half in the final match meant the County secured one of their most impressive opening day home results in recent years.

It was a different story for the Northamptonshire second team (pictured below) as they saw their title defence get off to a disappointing start as they were beaten in the reverse fixture.

Mark Bazeley and Joe Hyde earned the visitors an early lead with a 4&3 pairs win, but the County could only pick up a half in the remaining three morning ties, even though they all reached the 18th hole.

After one victory and one loss in their pre-season friendlies, the second team’s hopes of a turnaround quickly disappeared in the afternoon singles as Lincolnshire bagged three of the first four points.

Brandon Sanders secured a half for Northants, while Ben Lavender and David Sanders both collected points, but defeats in the closing two matches meant the visitors left Lincs empty-handed.

Northamptonshire Seniors team, meanwhile, were also defeated in their opening Anglian League match of the year as they lost 8½-6½ to Suffolk at Collingtree Park GC.

Tony Lord and Andy Castell were the only successful home pairing, while singles points from Brendon Moss, Andrew MacDonald and Lord, plus four halves, weren’t quite enough to turn the match around.

Northamptonshire men’s first team. Back row (from left): Jack Brown, Lee Hitchcock, Mark Stockdale, Fraser Carnihan, Gary Hardy. (Front row from left): Lee McNeela, Ryan Genner, Taylor Sargeant, Jenson Parfitt.