AFTER our successful win in the first match against Yorkshire our trip to Cumbria presented the team with a new and different challenge. We haven't defeated Cumbria for some years and when they perform as a team they can be unbeatable.
We were in buoyant mood and it was very important that we approached the match in a professional manner to avoid any complacency. Chris Paisley, our County Champion, returned from the States and obviously joined the team for the trip to Brampton.
We ended the morning foursomes equally sharing the 6 points available. A high percentage of the matches came to the 18th green.
The afternoon singles matches saw our top players play some fantastic golf. In the first match Chris Paisley was drawn against the most capped amateur in the world and two-time British Amateur Champion Gary Wolstenholme.
They were all square at the turn when Chris had 3 birdies to put him at 2 up with 3 to play. After driving into a bush on the 16th hole he took a penalty drop and then pitched to 10 feet. He coolly slotted home the putt for a crucial half.
On the par 5, 17th he missed the green just off the right side in 2 shots. However, as if he had planned it he chipped the shot in and secured a 3&1 win - a victory he'll probably remember for a long time.
The other top players continued to show their potential by not only controlling their games but when it was time to close the match they finished it off with clinical precision.
We recorded wins in the first four matches giving us 7 points on the board. A win looked on the cards.
Cumbria dominated the remaining singles matches, just as we had in the top matches. Towards the bottom end of the team we had a small advantage in a couple of games. Andrew Minnikin battled hard for a half which gave us a chance of a win.
However, when the Cumbrian players closed out their games they secured 9.5 points and victory.
Nicky Maddison continued his fantastic season with a win in the 12th match to finish the match 9.5 to 8.5.
If the team had to lose, then losing by the smallest margin may be critical as the season unfolds.
We left the course at Brampton obviously disappointed, but still upbeat for the rest of the season.
The next game is away against our local rivals Durham. The match will be played at Houghton le Spring Golf Club on 5 July.
Team Northumberland would like to thank our match day sponsors Apex Radio Systems Ltd for their vision and support.