On Tuesday the 12th of January 2021, the Channel League committee met and discussed the 2021 season. In anticipation of early season disruption due to Covid-19 restrictions that for this season alone the Channel League structure required change.
Early season fixtures were taken out of the diary and the league split in to two mini leagues North and South. The restructured leagues will minimise travel and reduce the need for overnight accommodation wherever possible.
Somerset will play in the South mini-league along with Devon and Cornwall whilst Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, Gwent and Glamorgan will form the North mini-league.
The mini leagues will see each county play each other home and away with the winning county from each league playing a final to determine the overall Channel League winners 2021.
County Secretaries are in the process of arranging fixtures and the Channel League Chairman will be drawing up new rules, both will be available soon.
James Ward will hand over the 1st team captaincy on the 16th of February to Mark Wait of Tall Pines GC. Marks preseason planning and preparation has been difficult if not impossible as Covid-19 impacts on us all.
Mark and Russell Covey (1st team coach) are working together and will prioritise national qualification, with home advantage (Burnham and Berrow) when trying to see off very strong opposition. With this years national finals being played at Remedy Oake in Dorset maybe 2021 will see Somerset Golf Union get over the line and become national champions for the first time!
The Channel League will see the introduction of some new faces having lost Tom Sloman, Tom Plumb and Will Poole to the professional ranks since September 2019. With a clutch of young pretenders coming through plus strength in depth throughout the junior setup what better time is there to welcome our next generation of talent. We all wish the teams every success going forward.
1st Team Captain 2021-22
MARK WAIT Tall Pines GC
No matches played in 2020
1 Gloucestershire 2 Somerset 3 Glamorgan 4 Devon 5 Cornwall 6 Wiltshire 7 Gwent
Please see Channel League > opposite for full information
2019 National Finals
HUDDERSFIELD GOLF CLUB
27th -29th September
KENT WIN COUNTY NATIONAL FINALS
SATURDAY 28th SEPTEMBER
SOMERSET 3 1/2 KENT 3 1/2
A soggy start to the day was an inconvenience for players, officials and spectators alike. A two-and-a-half hour rain delay from 8.30am forced everyone indoors until the weather picked up and the heroic greenstaff got to work on draining the putting surfaces.
On resumption of play shortly after 11am Kent ran into a Somerset side intent on improving from their narrow first day loss against Northumberland and the match finished tied on 3.5-3.5 points apiece.
Liam Burns 3/2, Jensen Hul 7/5l and Tom Sherreard 4/3 all notched convincing wins for Kent while Tom Plumb 3/2, Taylor Stote 4/2 and Sam Fernley 3/2 did likewise for Somerset.
Nerves were jangling as Jacob Kelso and Will Poole came down their last hole – but neither man could eke out a birdie to sneak the win and honours were even.
That allowed Northumberland to head into the final round of games knowing a draw against Kent would be good enough to claim the trophy.
SOMERSET V NOTTINGHAMSHIRE
NOTTINGHANSHIRE 4 SOMERSET 3
With Nottinghamshire and Somerset playing for pride in the afternoon the former claimed victory 4-3. The match was difficult to follw as play had begun with a shotgun start (and little time between rounds) to complete in daylight. Phil White, Will Poole and Sam Fernley all lost 1 down, Taylor Stote 6/5 Tom Plumb 3/2 & Tom Burley 3/1 all returned impressive wins. Craig Adams was unable to add the extra point needed for victory going down 4/3
FRIDAY 27TH SEPTEMBER
NORTHUMBERLAND 4 SOMERSET 3
On a wet and blustery day Somerset came a close second as Northumberland edged out the Red Army on the last green.
The overall result was decided in game 3 as Tom Plumb 3 down after 3 came back and was level going to the 16. Tom lost 16 halved 17 and appeared in good shape at 18 to halve his game and the match as his opponents final tee shot flew way right before striking his provisional down the fairway.
His first ball was found in thick rough a few feet from the woods. Able to move the ball to within 30 yards from the green but off to the right and well below the surface his chip shot finished 10 feet past the pin. Toms putt coming up close it was left for his opponent to calmly roll in the putt for a 1 up win.
Wins for Phil Whire Tom Burley and Craig Adams were cancalled out as Taylor Stote Will Poole and Sam Frnley lost. 4-3 is not what had been required on day 1 of 2 but with 2 matches being played on Saturday all is not lost and the overall result may well come down to matches won.
Tomorrow morning Somerset take on today’s other winners Kent and Nottinghamshire in the afternoon. We need 2 wins plus a little help as this years championship wil be decided before the poor weather closes in overnight.
THURSDAY 26TH SEPTEMBER
The format for this year’s Men’s County Finals has been revised with heavy rain due to batter the Yorkshire venue on Sunday.
Kent, Nottinghamshire, Northumberland and Somerset are at Huddersfield GC ready to fight it out for the right to be hailed as county champions.
However, with rain forecast to sweep in on Saturday night and linger into Sunday morning, the Championship team has taken the sensible decision to pre-empt a problem with waterlogging.
Instead of a round-robin format featuring foursomes and singles matches across Friday, Saturday and Sunday the championship will now be played to a conclusion over just two days.
All four counties will still play each of their rivals, but the matches will now consist solely of seven singles games.
Each county will play one match on Friday and follow this up with matches two and three on Saturday morning and Saturday afternoon.
2019 SOUTH WEST WEEK AT PARKSTONE GOLF CLUB
Somerset came away from the magnificent Parkstone Golf Club as this years South Western Counties representatives in the National Final to be play at Huddersfield Golf Club in late September.
The 36 hole medal saw the 6 man Team Somerset romp to victory by 11 shots from last year’s winners Gloucestershire. Somerset combined total of 14 under par included two outstanding rounds of 66 by Tom Plumb which left him 6 shots clear of Tom Sloman in Secord place. With two quality internationals making their way from competition in Scotland to represent their County the stage was set and Team Somerset did not disappoint. Phil White, Tom Trowbridge, Johnny Grace and Craig Adams all played well and without a single poor round the other 5 Counties were left trailing.
The National Finals in late September gives Captain James Ward a selection headache as the above 6 are by no means sure of their inclusion. Availability of players may also play a part especially if Plumb and or Sloman achieve Walker Cup selection. Everyone would love to see both available for the Huddersfield finals but we all wish the lads every success in their pursuit of Walker Cup honours and their future professional careers .
Defending the Team Match Play Championship did not go as planned. Defeat to Gloucestershire on day one and Devon day two left the County facing a battle for the lower placings. Our match against Dorset who were two wins from two ended in a draw but left Team Somerset bottom of the table. Our forth opponents Cornwall played their best golf of the week which left Wiltshire and Somerset to fight it out on the last day to avoid the wooded spoon. A very strong singles showing resulted in a commanding lunch time lead before match one in the pm foursomes secured a much needed win.
The team have come home once again with a clutch of trophies and the honour of representing the South West Counties, for the third time in the past five years! Maybe this time we can go one step further and become National Champion County a title that has just escaped our grasp in the past.
County President Geoff Ogdon, Chairman Tommy Tulk, Vice President Tony Mason, Vice-Captain Olly Worts, Executive Committee Members past and present have all played their part throughout the week. Russell Covey PGA and James Lamdon have helped and guided the team throughout the year and both deserve credit as does Team Somerset’s Captain James Ward, a very proud man indeed.
Craig Adams Farrington Park 74 -75- 149
Johnny Grace Saltford 75- 72- 147
Thomas Plumb Yeovil 66- 66 -132
Tom Sloman Taunton and Pickeridge 70- 68 -138
Tom Trowbridge Burnham and Berrow 70- 73- 143
Phil White Burnham and Berrow 70- 71- 141
SOMERSET CONTINUE THEIR WINNING START TO THE 2019 SEASON
Having travelled to High Post Wiltshire in the opening Channel League match of the season and come away with a hard fault victory Somerset hosted Devon at The Mendip on Sunday 28th April. Pratice rounds where blown away as storm Hanna caused havoc throughout the Southwest. Thankfully calmer conditions were the order of the day on Sunday and the morning foursomes result was assisted by a Devon player turning up at Mendip Spring Golf Club and missing his tee off time at The Mendip! The morning saw Somerset take a good lead at lunch 3.5 to 1.5. However after Sam Fernley playing top extended the lead the rest of the openers failed to register any points and the game became closer than expected. Thankfully the lower order came good with Somerset winning the last 5 games to record a 9.5 to 5.5 victory. Somerset played two won two. Keep it up boys and well done
After an incredibly successful period under Justin Lane, Team Somerset will be led by Jamie Ward for the next two years. James has been influential during his term as Vice-Captain, combining his duties as Manager of the Development Team as well as assisting Justin throughout the season. He has also found the time to assist Seniors Captain Alex Kidd as well as turning out regularly for the Seniors side.
The team will continue to be mentored by Performance Manager and Coach Russell Covey who has provided inspirational guidance and mentoring over the recent years. The new Vice-Captain will be elected at the Annual General Meeting of the Union on February 19th.
The squad looks to be in excellent shape with the vast majority of last seasons star performers still available for selection, in addition to new recruits coming through the system and joining Somerset Clubs. Two of the squad, Tom Sloman and Tom Plumb have also been called up into the full England team, so the in-depth strength of Team Somerset will be tested- and will not be found wanting.
Preparations for the season are well underway, with practice and training sessions being held at Burnham & Berrow and Weston-super-Mare. Our thanks go to all clubs who offer their facilities to help prepare our teams. Individually, players are seeking support from the specialist coaches funded by the County. James Lambdon and Will Poole will be continuing in their roles as Sports Psychologist and Strengthening and Conditioning coaches.
The competitive seasons kicks off with a Channel League match away to Wiltshire, before home fixtures against Devon and Gloucestershire. The team should be battle-hardened before the start of South West Week at Parkstone Golf Club beginning on June 9th. 10 members of the squad will be teeing off in the Wimborne Cup at Parkstone on May 11th. This will give an ideal opportunity to practice on the course and to impress the Selectors.