GOLF: Conley and Henfrey so close to St Andrews glory

Northants County golfer Martin Conley lost in the final of the Eden Trophy
Northants County golfer Martin Conley lost in the final of the Eden Trophy

Northants County’s Martin Conley and Sam Henfrey both produced magnificent displays at the Home of Golf as they contended for honours in the prestigious Eden Trophy at St Andrews in Scotland.

In a tournament which was first played in 1919, Conley recorded a series of excellent results in wet weather during the matchplay KO stages to reach the final.

After qualifying in 44th position with scores of 72 and 75, Conley beat Eddie Gibson (Drumpellier) 3&2 in round two, before winning the 17th hole to defeat Jamie Melton (Nuneaton) in the afternoon.

Another 3&1 victory followed against Niall Lamond (Balmore) in the fourth round, before he booked a place in the last four with a narrow victory against Daniel McCoy (Houldsworth).

With club-mate Henfrey also progressing through to the semi-finals after four good knockout wins, the prospect of Northants golfers claiming the top two prizes was still on going into the last day.

It didn’t work out that way however as Lancaster’s Adam Stone triumphed in the last four against Henfrey, who had qualified for the knockout stages as the third seed after two superb rounds of 68.

Conley kept alive his chances of a famous victory by edging a tight semi-final against Drew Waddell (Glasgow), but he couldn’t repeat the trick in the afternoon final as he lost on the closing hole.

Scottish Boys Championships

Max Faulkner (Brampton Heath) won the under-14s category in the 2015 Scottish Boys Championships at Glenbervie GC.

The 11-year-old carded an opening round of 78, before completing the last eight holes in level par on the second day to grab top spot with 75.

Faulkner finished 26th in the overall event as Peterborough Milton’s Robin Williams took 22nd spot.

Northampton

Lewis White fired eight birdies and no bogeys as he carded a new amateur course record of 64 in the seventh round of the Northampton Cup.

High-handicapper Ray Tootell came in with the best net score of 66, while Tom Linnett (net 67) was the best player in the second division.

Whittlebury

Teenagers Rayner Edwards and Natasha Ainsley-Thomas were both in magnificent form over the closing holes in the Ladies August Medal as they grabbed the net and gross prizes respectively.

Edwards completed the back nine in level par on her way to a net 65, while Ainsley-Thomas bagged three birdies and an eagle on the 11th hole in a two-under-par gross score of 72.

In the men’s competition, it was the high-handicappers who were the players to catch as Chris Monaghan (67) beat Stephen Wilkins on countback, with Andrew Norris third on 68.

Hellidon Lakes

Hellidon Lakes have confirmed they raised £1,170 for club captain Steve Trotman’s charity, the Warwickshire and Northamptonshire Air Ambulance, at the 25th anniversary towards the end of last month.

With Peter Bosworth and Richard Wood, who were part of the inaugural fourball that played at the venue when it opened in 1990, joining Malcolm Bodfish and Trotman in the opening group the club held a fundraising golf day.

In the most recent club competition, 40 points was a popular score in the August Stableford as five different players came in with the leading tally.

Clive Jennings edged out Daniel Harris and Paul Upfield in the top division on countback, while Mike Thomas beat Mike James in the high-handicap category.

Silverstone

Charlie Crowe and Dave Makepeace joined forces with the husband and wife combination of Steve and Gill Pedder to win Pros Day with a magnificent total of 92 points.

Newly-weds Nigel and Denise James finished second alongside David Hopkins and Alex Sexton on 89.

Richard Bradshaw was a convincing winner of the Sunday Stableford the following day as his score of 43 points pushed him three ahead of Paul Vidler.

Kingsthorpe

Seamus McCabe was a fitting recipient of the top prize in the Seniors Irish Open as the 19-handicapper compiled the best score of 40 points.

The Irishman nudged one ahead of Dick Ward with the help of back-to-back birdies on the holes either side of the turn as Perry King finished a further two points back in third.

In the third and final Eclectic Medal of the series, Gavin Hitchcock recorded a gross and net double as he finished one ahead of Jeremy Walding. Mark Bazeley won the overall Eclectic prize.

Barbara Hulka, Sue Jones and Pearl Boswell won the Ladies Pros Day with a score of 78 points.

Staverton

Twenty three was an excellent winning score over nine holes in the 10th week of the Tuesday Night Stableford as Peter Trueman finished one ahead of Liam Bell in the top division. The high-handicap section went to Paul D Taylor (22) on countback from John Willis.

Delapre

A stunning score of net 62 from Martin Cordiner secured all the plaudits in the Mayors Appeal competition as he saw his handicap cut from 24 to 21. Daniel Lee (68) finished second by one shot from Chris Almand.

Farthingstone

Ian Bell’s better finish proved crucial in the latest Weekend Bash as he grabbed a countback verdict from 
the Ian Bayliss. Both players carded 40 points - one more than third placed Adrian Miller.

Northants County

The August Midweek Stableford witnessed two of the best rounds seen at the club this year as Tony Billson and Steve Valentine finished first and second with scores of 46 and 44 points respectively.

Top division leader Mike Cheney and Lee Woolerton were next on 39 apiece, while Ben Jones carded the best gross score.

Cold Ashby

John Frommont’s consistency over the inward stretch made the difference in the August Medal as he beat fellow mid-handicapper Douglas Stuart on countback with a net 65. Ian French (66) won the top category by two strokes from Gareth Dolman, while Ray Chambers (68) had the same margin of victory in Division Three from Philip Wright and John O’Shea.

Collingtree

Countback was needed in the 14th round of the Seniors Stableford Series as Peter Horgan edged out Mahesh Patel on countback with 38 points.

Steve Hadley carded the same total to clinch the NAGS August Stableford by a single point from James Plumpton.

Mason Geddes served nerved notice of his potential as the junior member handed in a supplementary scorecard of net 54 to see his handicap slashed from 21.8 to 14.9.

Overstone Park

Forty points was the leading score in both the top two divisions in the August White Tee Stableford as Taylor Sargeant and Phil Du-Feu grabbed the respective honours.

Julie Stapleton’s reward for a winning total of 44 points in the August Ladies Stableford is a handicap reduction from 28 to 24.8. Bronwen Pamely (36) finished runner-up.

Brampton Heath

Chris Brack was successful in the August Stableford as 42 points lifted him two clear of Ashley Hawes. Nick Herridge was one of three players to bag 39 points.

John Turner won the fifth medal of the Senior Golfer of the Year with a net 65. David Green (67) finished runner-up by one from Giacomo Deieso.

Handicap League

Defending champions Wellingborough will face Collingtree Park in the Handicap League final after they defeated Northants County and Hellidon Lakes respectively in the last four.

Competing at Northampton in their semi-final, Wellingborough never looked back after a positive start as Steve Crawley and Tom Cheevers won the opening tie by one hole and Lawrence Berryman and Paul Redding cinched the next match by four.

Although games three and six were halved and County took the match by a single hole, it was only after Wellingborough had effectively sealed the win thanks to a four-hole success from Chris Herring and Loz Weekes.

While Wellingborough’s final margin of victory was 9-1, it was a lot closer in the other match at Northants County as Collingtree edged home 9-7 against a Hellidon side who had won all eight Group B matches this year.

A three-hole victory for Conor Rosling and former club captain Chris Malton gave Collingtree the ideal start, before Tony Greenhill and Mark Spring doubled the advantage.

Although Steve Cole and Andrew Dennis extended the lead by one, Hellidon quickly levelled the scores as Duncan Childs and Malcolm Gregory won by five while Simon Keyte and Kevin Lovell triumphed by two.

With everything riding on the last match, Collingtree duo Alistair Biggin and Mike Clarke produced the goods as they completed a two-hole victory against Graham Newport and Len Edwards.

The final will be played at a neutral venue on Sunday, August 30.

Scratch League

Division One

Northampton inflicted a first defeat of the season on reigning champions Northants County as they triumphed 6-2 at home to move three points clear at the top.

Dean Roberts (6&5) and Gareth Parker (4&3) gave the hosts the ideal start, before the visitors rallied with halves in games one and four, and a narrow win in the fifth tie.

From then onwards it was all Northampton as Dominic Jessup and Ross Skidmore confirmed the team win by grabbing points on the 16th hole, before Lewis White put the seal on a great day with a 4&3 success.

Northants County went into the match in confident touch after recording a series of convincing wins the previous weekend in a 6½-1½ home defeat of Brampton Heath, who remain rock bottom.

Division Two

Overstone Park secured their second away victory of the campaign as they edged a thrilling contest with Staverton Park by a single point.

Although Matthew Simmonds, Giorgio Fiorgione and Miles Mudge recorded decent wins for the home side, Overstone managed to get something from all the close matches.

Peter Goddard (3&2) and James Barker (2&1) were the most impressive away winners, but Andy Harrison and Taylor Sargeant were taken the distance before coming out on top, while Billy Beard bagged a half.

With Staverton travelling to unbeaten Kingsthorpe this weekend, any growing fears of relegation were appeased when Rushden suffered their fifth defeat in five outings as they crashed to a 7-1 loss at Cold Ashby. Graham Bott (6&4), Bob Clayton and Jack Hall (both 4&3) were the most comfortable winners for Ashby, who currently sit top having played more games than any other side.

Division Three

Priors Hall were successful in the battle between the two teams with a perfect winning record as they defeated local rivals Kettering 5-3 at home.

Although the away side clinched the opening two points, the Corby club quickly regained control thanks to points from Ian Abrahams (7&6), Marc Asher (4&3), Ryan Genner (6&5) and Callum Farr (5&4).

Stuart Bell maintained Kettering’s hopes of a draw with a narrow win, but Ryan Jaffray came through for Priors as he completed a 2&1 victory.

Farthingstone collected their third victory of the 
season with a 5½-2½ home success against Collingtree Park.

The middle order proved decisive for Farthingstone as Michael Barnett, Richard Marsh and Brad Wardell recorded comfortable home wins in games three, four and five respectively.

John Whittaker and Ian Donald were both successful for the hosts on the closing hole, while Sam Bird collected a half point.

Division Four

Daventry set up a promotion decider with Cherwell Edge at the end of this month after moving to the top of the standings with a 6-2 win at Stoke Albany.

Daniel Haynes set the tone with a thumping victory in the opening tie as Daventry went on to secure the first away win this season thanks to further points from Tom Orcherton, Dave Musker, Nathon Freezer, Chris Eveleigh and Adam Tarbox.

Junior League

Group A

Cold Ashby maintained their chances of qualifying for the last four of Junior League Group A with a 2-2 draw at Kettering.

A first away victory in this group looked on the cards when Ashby’s Jamie Kerr and Tom Marshall took the opening two points.

But Kettering, who have lost once in their outings this year, grabbed a share of the spoils, thanks to wins from Ashleigh Critchley and Joseph Hyde.

Group D

Northants County are still favourites to finish top despite suffering their first defeat of the season as they went down 2½-1½ at Cherwell Edge, for whom Luis Witherall and Matthew Rogers grabbed wins.

Collingtree remain the most likely challengers to County, but they need to win their last two fixtures, away to Priors Hall and at home to Northampton, to clinch a spot in the last four.

Intermediate League

Both Northampton and Wellingborough maintained their perfect winning records, while Kingsthorpe collected their first win in the latest round of fixtures at Overstone Park.

Two big wins from John Blake and Glyn Jones helped Northampton edge an otherwise tight contest with Collingtree Park by a single point.

Wellingborough made it three victories out of three with a 5½-2½ success over Kettering as Mark Coleman, Andy Grimmitt, Dean Smith, Gary Grimmitt and Ollie Tilley grabbed the vital points.

With the top four sides progressing through to the semi-finals, Kingsthorpe kept alive their title hopes as they thrashed Cold Ashby 7-1.