CORNWALL'S Ladies were pipped to the South West title by the narrowest of margins when they lost to Gloucestershire in the match that decided the championship on the final day of SW Inter County Match Week at Trevose on Friday.
It was heart-breaking for the county's ladies who had won all their previous four matches during the week. But their 5-4 defeat meant Gloucestershire will represent the South West in the English County Finals at East Devon in September.
Friday's decider was played in strong westerly winds throughout and intermittent heavy showers during the morning.
The pairing of Judy Ryder and debutante Georgia Price lost their first match of the week to internationals Shelby Smart and Bethan Popel, but Sarah-Jane Boyd and Sammie Giles, who had lost only once previously, levelled before Katie Rule and Rachael Phillips lost on the 18th green.
This defeat proved to be pivotal as the afternoon singles were shared, with wins by Jan Sargeant, Giles and Price being cancelled out by defeats for Boyd, Louisa McCartney and Rule.
However, the four youngest players did the county proud. Boyd, Rule, Giles and Price played in all ten matches, maintaining their high standards through 36 holes on each of the five days.
Giles was the team's top points scorer with 81/2 out of 10, followed by Boyd and Price with 71/2 each and Rule, who recorded a remarkable 2&1 win over Dorset's England international Hayley Davis on Day 2, with 51/2.
Cornwall started with a 81/2-1/2 win over Wiltshire and followed up with a fine 6-3 victory over Dorset.
After rain forced the abandonment of Wednesday morning's foursomes against Somerset, the host county went on to easily secure the afternoon singles and the match 61/2-1/2.
Cornwall were given a tougher match by Devon in wet and windy conditions on Thursday before eventually prevailing 5-4 to set up the final day's showdown against Gloucestershire, the only other previously undefeated team.
Results, see Page 107.