The Knights will be travelling down to the seaside resort of Brighton after capturing a stunning victory in the cup semis on Wednesday against Royal Holloway.
A wonderful 4.5 – 1.5 victory has secured Readings’ place in this year’s cup final, setting up a clash against league champions Brighton. Whilst a loss earlier in the year is still fresh in memory, Reading will be going with bags of confidence from overturning Holloway, who we had previously lost to in the autumn.
Whilst Captain George Mitchell didn’t have the chance to stretch out his elbow and play in the semi, he did provide an essential support network for the team. Much like Jose Maria Olazabal did at the ‘miracle at Medinah’, Georges’ day constituted of whizzing around the golf course (with cameraman Kris Morgan Jones in hot pursuit) relaying critical snippets of information amongst team members and keeping everyone up to date. Some have whispered that George became a curse to anyone that he was watching (Danny Watson even attributing a topped 4 iron at the 12th to Georges’ mere presence) however, I think this unfair, as George was certainly the picture of composure in the pressure cooker that was the semi-final. Captain Mitchell showed his desire after victory was assured, bursting into tears and just shouting “Seve” over and over.
As for the matches themselves, Welshman Will Evans got us off to a strong start, gaining half a point against a strong opponent. Will; a fluffy haired fresher, went down early on but strung together a couple of birdies around the turn to establish a lead in the match. A courageous birdie from his opponent down the last meant that Will was pegged back, however it was clear that the match was high in quality and we are certainly proud of our resident Celt! In the second group, we saw the now familiar pairing of Aran O’Doherty and Danny Watson step up and deliver maximum points. After Aran had boomed a ‘tiger line’ drive off the first to leave just 90 yards in (caught on camera) it seemed like it was going to be his day. In reality, his opponent found the better of the front nine and Aran found himself 2 down in the match. A crucial birdie down the ninth was cited as the turning point and after the 12th, Aran cruised home, winning all of the remaining holes to secure the biggest victory of the day. Meanwhile, Watson found himself in a real tussle as his game looked like going the distance. He managed to break the stalemate, pulling clear with some solid par golf in the windy conditions and a few holes later, Danny had the win in his pocket, holing some crucial clutch putts along the way.
This just leaves the final pairing of President and Matt O’Doherty to anchor the team home. Whilst the President was subjected to endless chatter from his opponent, O’Doherty in comparison was getting the silent treatment from his challenger. Both matches were extremely tight from the offset and both stood at all square after 12 holes. Price managed to pull slightly ahead in his match, reaching a score of 2 up with 3 holes to play thanks to some steady golf. He eventually managed to grind out the win down the last, remaining composed to roll in a four-foot putt just after a 50 foot bomb had been landed. Matt played some quality golf and certainly deserved more from his match. Some stunning iron play kept Matt in with a chance of the win against worthy opposition and on another day, a couple more putts here and there, the outcome would have been very different. In particular, Matt must have been pleased with a more penetrating ball flight courtesy of the wonderful fellas at Celtic manor.
Certainly, excitement is high for the fast approaching final, the twins are buzzing already and the president has felt good vibes whistling in the sea breeze. With our new sports psychologist, Suzi on side, Brighton can certainly expect to face a team who produce mental conundrums and not one which suffers from them. There will be no doubt that the golf team will travel down to Brighton for the final ready and raring to go. Captain George will keep applying his prescription elbow ointment so that he will be fighting fit for the final and who knows… maybe it will be his elbow that delivers the crucial putt for the Knights next week?