Yorkshire golf: White Rose denied English Women's County Finals title by last-day defeat

Yorkshire under captain Dawn Clegg were thwarted on the final day of the English Women's County Finals by Gloucestershire.
Yorkshire under captain Dawn Clegg were thwarted on the final day of the English Women's County Finals by Gloucestershire.
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YORKSHIRE had the English Women's County Finals crown plucked from their grasp by Gloucestershire, who won Friday's title decider 5-4.

Captain Dawn Clegg's side had trailed 2-1 from the morning foursomes and needed a one-point surfeit in the afternoon singles to turn things around at Waterlooville, in Hampshire.

Woodsome Hall's Rochelle Morris, left, and Selby's Megan Garland won the point for Yorkshire in the top foursomes match against Gloucestershire (Picture: Heather Cawdry).

Woodsome Hall's Rochelle Morris, left, and Selby's Megan Garland won the point for Yorkshire in the top foursomes match against Gloucestershire (Picture: Heather Cawdry).

A tie in the match would have been enough for Yorkshire to lift the championship as they had won all four contests heading into the final day while Gloucestershire had recorded three wins and a tie.

Yorkshire had taken 18 of the 24 singles points available in four successive wins ahead of the final series of matches against Gloucestershire.

But they were unable to achieve more than afternoon parity, two of the matches being halved and two victories - for Woodsome Hall's Rochelle Morris and Cleckheaton's Megan Clarke - being offset by two defeats.

It is Gloucestershire's first title in their sixth consecutive appearance in the event.

Yorkshire captain Clegg commented: “It was an excellent match, very tight, and both sides played extremely well. All credit to the girls.”

On the only previous occasion her side had trailed at lunchtime - on day one against Staffordshire - their response was a 6-0 singles clean sweep. But Gloucestershire proved far tougher opposition.

Yorkshire champion Megan Garland (Selby) was unable to turn a two-hole advantage through 13 holes into a win in the top match.

Her opponent Alex Giles win the last two holes, a birdie at the 18th snatching a half for Gloucestershire

Alison Knowles (Hickleton) had three wins from as many singles matches ahead of Friday, but had to be content with a half in match two.

Rotherham's Olivia Winning was bested 3&2 by fellow England international Bethan Popel to give Gloucestershire a two-point cushion, but Clarke reduced the gap with her 3&2 triumph.

In the anchor match, Curtis Cup player Morris edged a tight encounter 2&1 leaving the title resting on match five, involving Lightcliffe's Hannah Holden.

She trailed for much of the match and lost her unbeaten singles record for the week, going down 2&1 and Gloucestershire were anointed champions.

Clegg had rested Morris and Garland yesterday afternoon and they returned to action with a 3&2 foursomes win in the morning.

But the other two matches went Gloucestershire's way.

Clarke and Holden trailed by two holes at the turn, reduced the deficit to one, but lost the last hole for a two-hole loss.

Knowles and Winning had lived up to the latter's name by triumphing in all four of their foursomes matches together from Monday through Thursday.

They fought hard to retain the record after trailing by three holes heading for home and clawed two holes back.

They took the game up the final hole, but lost one down for Knowles's first loss in eight singles and foursomes matches at that point.

Norfolk made their first appearance at County Finals for 42 years and marked the occasion by winning the battle for third place with an emphatic 7.5-1.5 win over Buckinghamshire. The teams shared the foursomes, but Norfolk won all six singles.