Golf doesn't get much more tense than this. Worcestershire's grasp of the Midland County Championship was prised from them by the last putt on the last green at Radcliffe- on- Trent last evening and the title, that they have coveted all season, went to Nottinghamshire.
Needing the win that would have given Worcestershire their first Championship for seven years, Tom Pulling put his drive into a ditch at the 18th and then saw his opponent, Tucker Payne, miss the green from the fairway.
Pulling could not beat Payne's bogey and the halved match gave Nottinghamshire an 8-7 victory overall.
"Our centenary year has come apart," said Worcestershire secretary, Andrew Boyd. "But we've had great support and we've seen some really exciting golf."
To all intents and purposes, Worcestershire were down and out at lunchtime. They lost the morning foursomes 4-1 and there seemed no way back. But showing the qualities that took them to the top of the table, they won all of the first five opening singles.
Matthew Pates and Steve Clark both holed bunker shots and Worcestershire gathered all the impetus that they needed. Then Anthony Hill and Chris Healey both lost and the side found themselves needing two points from the last three matches.
"We only got one," said a downcast Boyd. "We thought that we had the edge but Nottinghamshire came through to take the biscuit and good luck to them."
Warwickshire, with a big win against Shropshire & Herefordshire, and Staffordshire with an even bigger win against Derbyshire, could have sneaked the title and they went into the last day with brave hopes.
As it transpired, Warwickshire's 81/2-61/2 wasn't big enough while Staffordshire didn't win at all.
Warwickshire won the morning foursomes 4-1 at Shrewsbury but they lost the singles - a dramatic reversal of their usual fortunes.
"We left ourselves with a bit too much to do," said the captain, Andy Kearns. "But we fought all the way."
Chris Evans and David Hayes won their foursomes 5&4 against Barry Ruddick and Martin Travis while Neil Taylor and Ben Stafford beat Billy Mills and Darren Richards 6&4. Which helped Warwickshire finish the season as runners-up.
Kearns, an energetic captain, thereupon stepped down with this positive observation on the county's future: "We've got a great squad of youngsters coming up and everything's looking very bright."
Staffordshire's season, a stop-start operation for most of the way, ended in anticlimax at Chesterfield where Derbyshire, by a margin of 81/2-61/2, gained their first success of the season.
The top of their singles order was their fatally weak department. At one point in the foursomes, Staffordshire looked like losing 4-1. But they fought back to finish the morning session all square, with two matches won and the other halved.
"Three matches were either won or halved on the 18th, a hole which was very good to us," said captain, Sean Randle, whose last match in charge this was. But the opening exchanges of the afternoon told a depressing story. Of the first five matches, Paul Griffiths won his but the other four were lost.
"We just never got started," said Randle. The gap was too wide to close completely, although Staffordshire won three of the last five singles.
"There were some good performances, though," said Randle. Seventeen-year-old Miles Frost won both his matches, which prompted Randle to describe him as a "rising star."
Griffiths took 11/2 points and so did the youngsters Jared McKnight and Stuart Hemmings. "There's a lot to look forward to," said Randle. "But this wasn't the best way to end our season."