SIMON CLARK could hardly have written a better script for his final match as Norfolk first-team captain.
Not only did Clark lead his men to an emphatic 9-3 Anglian League win over Cambridgeshire at Bawburgh Golf Club. He also signed off on an individual high with a thumping 9&8 singles’ success – the biggest victory margin of his career.
It was the perfect way for the Norfolk stalwart to finish his second stint as the county skipper.
Clark, 50, said: “It was 2-2 at lunch and 7-1 in the afternoon – wow! And to go out with a victory, personally, is the icing on the cake.
“I’ve played county first-team golf since 1991 – I was still 17 at the time. I’ve played every season apart from two since then. That is a lot of games, but I enjoy golf and I’ve dedicated most of it to the county.”
Lincolnshire clinched the Anglian League title by beating Suffolk but Norfolk secured third place thanks to their latest triumph in which all eight team members contributed at least a point.
The morning foursomes were hard-fought and the visitors struck first blood before experienced duo Jon Baker-Odlin and Simon Butts got a point on the board for Norfolk. George Morris and Harry Thomas were also victorious to ensure parity at lunchtime.
The tide turned increasingly in the hosts’ favour during the afternoon as Clark and co played relentless golf.
But it wasn’t just captain Clark recording a handsome win. Thomas, 15, played a series of fine shots in securing a 7&5 success, while Adam Sims’ dazzling iron play was key to his 5&4 victory.
Scott Wright went on a birdie blitz as he blazed to a 5&4 win, while there were tighter triumphs for Butts, Baker-Odlin and Chris White.
Post-match it was confirmed that White will take charge as county first-team captain in 2024. And the man handing over the baton is predicting a bright future for Norfolk golf.
Clark said: “I think it’s looking good. This year we’ve had three 15-year-olds play – one in the first team and two in the second team.
“We’ve had 17 and 18-year-olds playing as well, which you’ve got to do. The only way forward is to bring through the youngsters, especially into the second team.”
But the chances are, Norfolk golf will still have a veteran or two in their line-up next year.
With a glint in his eye, Clark added: “If Chris selects me, I’ll be playing.”
Norfolk: Simon Clark (Great Yarmouth & Caister), Adam Sims (Royal Norwich), Jon Baker-Odlin (Hunstanton), Harry Thomas (Eaton), Simon Butts (Hunstanton), Chris White (Hunstanton), George Morris (Eaton), Scott Wright (Middleton Hall).
NORFOLK’S second-team secured a 6.5-5.5 away win in Cambridgeshire to finish their season on a high.
Captain Peter Murphy’s visitors swept the board in the morning foursomes but Cambs hit back strongly in the singles.
In the end, it went right down to the wire when Ryan Clark’s half-point from the final match left out on the course was enough to get Norfolk over the line.