GOLF: Northampton celebrating Hollingsworth Trophy success

WINNERS - Northampton Golf Club men's team
WINNERS - Northampton Golf Club men's team

Northampton prevailed over Kingsthorpe in a thrilling final to claim the Hollingsworth Trophy 3-2 at Overstone Park.

Northampton enjoyed strong wins by the pairs of Drew Russell and Lewis White (3&2) and David Gouldman and Darren Gould (4&3) to take command early on.

The opening tie went down to the last hole with Guy Loveland and Jack Brown (one hole) holding their nerve to keep Kingsthorpe in the hunt for the title.

Kingsthorpe final pair Jake Croxford and Jason Spence won convincingly (4&3) to level the contest with one game still to be decided.

In a tense finale to the season, Ross Skidmore and Lawrence Ryan held their nerve and ground out victory at the final hole (one hole) to bring home the trophy for Northampton.

Scratch League

Division One

Peterborough Milton continued their strong start to the season, piling further misery on strugglers Wellingborough with a 4 ½ - 3 ½ home victory.

The home side’s Neil Thompson and Wellingborough’s Duncan Cornish both enjoyed emphatic 6&5 successes, as the sides were level at the halfway stage.

Richard Cole (3&2) won the crucial point that put the win beyond Wellingborough. Jamie Milligan birdied the last two holes to scrape a half from Phil Hughes, but this still gave the hosts’ a match win and sent Wellingborough to a third straight defeat.

Brampton Heath secured their first point of the season with a 4-4 draw at home to in-form Northampton.

The home side got off to a poor start with two early defeats and by the time Ross Skidmore (5&3) and Lloyd Skidmore (6&5) had posted further comprehensive triumphs for Northampton, the tie looked over.

Brampton won three late points in a spirited fightback which earned the hosts a share of the spoils.

Division Two

Cold Ashby bounced back from defeat last week in perfect style to post an impressive 5 ½ - 2-½ home victory against form side Overstone.

The home team flew out of the traps, winning five of the opening six ties to put the game to bed early.

Bradley Green (7&6) and Stuart Nicholas (6&5) were in particularly punishing form.

An outstanding 7&6 triumph by James Barker proved scant consolation for the away side, who fell to their first defeat of the season.

This win moved Cold Ashby top of the division above Overstone on points difference, with any one of three teams still in with a great chance of progression.

Division Four

Stoke Albany banished the demons of last week’’s 8-0 whitewash defeat, securing a 4-4 draw at home to Cherwell Edge.

The result could have been even better for the home 
side after they had powered to an early lead, winning the opening three ties with Chris Plowright (5&3) most impressive.

The lead was not enough for the hosts to hold on for victory; in a game of two halves Cherwell Edge rallied to win the final three games, securing a share of the plaudits.

Graham Collett (5&4) was particularly dominant in his success but was well supported by Ryan Commons (two holes) and Stephen King (3&2) in finalising an unlikely point for the away side.

Intermediate League

Northampton continued their positive start, dispatching of Cold Ashby 5 ½ - 2 ½ to secure a second straight win.

A strong start gave Northampton the platform for victory as they raced to a three-point lead after four ties; Samuel Gilkes was the standout performer (8&6).

Both sides won two games apiece to finish the game.

There were 6&5 successes for Northampton’s Gareth Parker and Andy Limbert, in addition to a stunning 9&8 consolation win for Cold Ashby’s Paul Fuller.

Overstone, who were handed a walkover win last week, opened their season with a 5-3 victory over Kingsthorpe to go top of the division.

A dominant early success by Andrew Harrison (6&5) set the tone as Overstone won the opening three ties, with Decklyn Cooke and Phil Garner also victorious.

Kingsthorpe fought hard to stay in the match, winning three games, but close-fought triumphs for Jim Tricklebank and Mark Tindle (both one hole) secured the points.

Junior League

Northants County recorded their first Junior League Group B win of the season with a comprehensive 4-0 success at home to Prior Hill.

Fergus Robinson (one hole) and Rhys Taylor (two holes) won hard-fought games to put the home side in command early in the match. Dominant victories by George Elderton (4&2) and Joseph Quinn (7&5) rounded off an impressive victory for the hosts, which leaves Priors Hill bottom.

Group A

Kettering became the first side to secure a Junior League victory in Group A with a 2 ½ -1 ½ home win over Staverton.

Jordan Darnell (two holes) was successful for the home side early on but their advantage was soon cancelled out by Matthew Simmons (4&3).

A halved tie left it up to Ashleigh Critchley to complete the win for Kettering with a 2&1 triumph in the last.

Group D

Northants County maintained their unbeaten record as they claimed victory at home to Priors Hall 3-1.

The hosts were in dominant form with their three winners all recording lop-sided triumphs. They got off to a great start as Millicent Billson won the opening tie by 6&5.

The away side recorded their sole success before Daniel Brightmore (8&6) and Katie Amos (5&3) produced outstanding displays to banish any doubt of who was to secure the plaudits.

Collingtree Park

Collingtree Park captain Alasdair Gibson has set the wheels in motion for history to be made in 2016 after he appointed a lady member as his vice-captain for this year.

Subject to the usual formality of confirmation by the Collingtree committee next year, Catherine Tildesley will therefore become the first lady to take on a club captaincy in Northamptonshire.

Following on from the merger of the men’s and ladies bodies at national and county level in recent years, Tildesley believes this process is an inevitable and positive forward step.

Tildesley said: “Being the first is really good for golf. It sends a positive message that the game is about a group of people of all ages and genders coming together.

“I was surprised when Alasdair asked me. It is ground-breaking, so in a sense you could say it was a brave decision, but a good brave decision.

“But the response from all the gentlemen since it was announced has been lovely, and I’m really excited about it.”

Brampton Heath

Ben Jones produced a dominant performance in the Club Championships as he claimed an 11-shot victory with rounds of 72 and 70.

In an event when Matt Clulow carded a hole-in-one on the 219-yard 12th hole during the second round, former county champion Nick Herridge was runner-up by four strokes from Andy Sewell.

Matt Smith lifted the Club Trophy after winning the net competition by one from Simon Oliver and Saul Eustace (both net 145).

Whittlebury

Christina Hancock bagged her seventh consecutive ladies club championship crown as she lifted the Alexander Cup with scores of 80 and 79.

Despite trailing teenager Natasha Ainsley-Thomas by one stroke going into the second round, the former county champion’s experience proved decisive as she triumphed by nine shots.

The net competition went to Rayner Edwards as she picked up the Samuels Trophy with net scores of 75 and 77.

One stroke was the margin of victory in the high-handicap category as Barbara Hignett’s 27-hole net total of 121 kept her ahead of Jo Price, who carded the best gross score of 121.

Delapre

William McAree clinched the Club Championships by a single stroke from Brian Seal after shooting scores of 78 and 79.

Gary Wray, who was runner-up to McAree in the net category, took third by one from first round leader Alan Picketts, who finished on 165.

Alan Jones came close to a double in the Schweppes Cup as he compiled two rounds of 84 to win the high-handicap gross section by five strokes.

The 18-handicapper had to settle for second in the net division as Daniel Lee (133) triumphed on countback.

Collingtree

Jayne Crofts was crowned ladies club champion after coming from four shots off the pace at the half way stage to win by a single stroke from Catherine Tildesley.

In another close battle, the net title went to Michelle Davies.

Hellidon Lakes

Hellidon Lakes will celebrate their 25th anniversary on Friday, July 31 by holding an 18 hole competition followed by a barbecue.

Designed by David Snell, the 6,187 yard par 72 course was officially opened in the spring of 1990 by Manchester United legend Sir Bobby Charlton, who drove his ball into the Holy Lake and planted an ornamental tree beside the 18th green.

It has since undergone some major changes including a redesign of the 12th, 17th and 18th holes and also the building of the Valley course in September 1994, which added another loop of nine holes.

Despite having a relatively small membership, the club have enjoyed unprecedented success recently in the Handicap League having won the event twice and reached the semi-final in each of the last five years.

One of its team members Malcolm Gregory has already enjoyed a little bit of individual success in the build-up to the anniversary by winning the Celebration Cup with 42 points.

The 12-handicapper carded back-to-back birdies on the par five holes towards the start of the back nine as he finished three points ahead of Kevin Lovell, with Clive Jennings a further point adrift in third spot.

Northants County

Phil Smith produced the outstanding round in the July Medal as he carded a net 66 to finish three ahead of top division duo Matt Myers, who had the best gross score, and Paul Godding.

Mark Veitch was the leading player in the second category as a net 68 gave him a one-shot advantage from Ross Mason.

Martin Hamill (73) was the best high-handicapper, while Lee Ault clinched the Baxter Cup with a score of net 72.

Overstone Park

Nigel Hanna was the player to catch in the July White Tee Stableford as the 22-handicapper carded gross pars on six holes over the outward stretch on his way to 40 points.

Tony Osborne came closest to matching that score as he took second place by one point from Paul Cater and Mark Roberts (both 38).

Silverstone

Anthony Lamb faces Les Bone in the lower handicap semi-finals of the Silverstone Singles KO as they compete for a final spot against Andy Gray or Dave Makepeace.

In the higher handicap category, Martin Buzzard will take on Royston Stanley in the last four for the right to meet Ian Graystone or Peter Jeskins in the final.

Jeskins is also through to the semi’s of the Doubles KO as he joins forces with Alan Roderick to play club pro Rodney Holt and captain Tim Robert-Holmes in the lower handicap section. Mel Toms and Charlie Crowe are awaiting their opponents in the other half.

Staverton

Malcolm Jones was unstoppable over the closing stretch in the July Medal as the 17-handicapper dropped just three shots in the last 10 holes on his way to a winning net 65.

Guy Roberts came closest to snatching the victory, but the high-handicapper had to settle for second with a 66. Mike Ratcliff and Joseph Quinn led the way in the top section on 67.

Cherwell Edge

Peter Trower dropped just three shots in the last six holes in the July Sunday Stableford as the mid-handicapper bagged 39 points.

Dave Slater picked up the second prize on countback from two others with 37.

Cold Ashby

An 18-hole play-off will be needed to decide the winner of the Presidents Putter after Paul Askew and Phillip Smith both came in with the leading score of net 68.

Paul White was three shots back in third place.

Farthingstone

Adrian Miller compiled a solid round of net 69 in the July Medal as the 21-handicapper nudged a single shot ahead of Kenneth Harridine and Chris Franklin, who were second and third respectively.