GOLF: Northants boys so close to taking English title

Northants Boys were so close to claiming national glory
Northants Boys were so close to claiming national glory

Northants came up just short in their bid to win a historic first English Boys County title as they finished third at Cumberwell Park.

After qualifying for the final for the second successive year, the team made a slow start as they lost the opening game against Hertfordshire 5-4.

Needing a win on the second day to have any chance of glory, Northants responded in stunning fashion as they defeated Yorkshire, who were victorious on the opening day.

Helped by inspirational morning foursomes play from Ben Jones (Northants County) and Callum Farr (Priors Hall), who had a run of five consecutive birdies followed by two eagles, the team went on to win the match 5-4.

With Hertfordshire losing on the second day, Northants knew that a comfortable victory against host county Wiltshire on the final day should be enough to clinch the title.

Unfortunately, despite halving the morning foursomes, when all three games went to the 18th, the county couldn’t claim the afternoon singles as Wiltshire retained their crown with a 5½-3½ win.

Midlands Boys

Northamptonshire were successful in the Midlands Boys Under-14s County Team Championships as they grabbed the plaudits by four strokes from Derbyshire on the par three course at Broughton Heath.

The team of Ed Keech, Theo Brown (both Kettering), Yeong Bin Lee (Northampton), Max Faulkner (Brampton Heath), Joe Quinn (Northants County) and Luis Witherall (Cherwell Edge) finished on 613.

County Girls

Hattie Billson (Northants County), Yum Edwards (Whittlebury), Ashleigh Critchley (Kettering) formed the winning team in the net comp during the Girls Four Counties Championship at Northampton.

Billson also finished runner-up in the individual net category with a score of 70, while home club member Katie Amos clinched the fourth prize on countback with a 71.

In the nine-hole competition, Peterborough Milton’s Emily Grace Horsted bagged 20 points to finish two ahead of Jade Potter (Northampton).

County Ladies

Local knowledge proved vital in the Ladies Fourball Betterball Am-Am at Staverton Park as April Owens, Bronwen Curtis, Linda Steele and Debbie Pendlebury carded the best score of 84 points.

The home quartet finished four points ahead of Lema Townsend (Wellingborough), Karen Currie (Kingsthorpe) and Gina Evans and Susan Evans (both Overstone 
Park).

Intermediate League

Northampton and Wellingborough qualified for the semi-finals as the first and second seeds after battling out a thrilling 4-4 draw in 
their last group match at Kettering.

Mark Coleman gave Wellingborough the early lead with a 3&1 victory, only for Ian Townsend and Gary Slinn to reply as they both shook hands with their opponents on the penultimate green.

Paul Hughes levelled the scores and although Northampton’s Lawrence Ryan secured a 2&1 win, Wellingborough looked set to snatch the honours when Damian Magill and Gary Grimmitt bagged points.

But unbeaten leaders Northampton, who join Collingtree and Kettering in the last four, emphasised their qualities as Sam Gilkes 
took the last tie on the 18th hole.

Scratch League

Northants County strengthened their position at the top of the Scratch League Division One standings as the reigning champions grabbed a battling 4-4 draw at Northampton.

Paul Harris (3&2), Fergus Robinson (2&1) and Tom Duck (4&2) clinched the second, fourth and sixth ties respectively, to counter early wins from the home side.

Lloyd Skidmore (5&4), Yeong Bin Lee (3&2) both enjoyed victories, while Darren Matthews bagged another Northampton point on the 18th, meaning the match came down to the last two games.

Alex Izzard halved with Tony Lord, before Charlie Salter finished all square with county boys, and fellow England international, Ben Jones.

Division Two

Two big wins from Duane Hayle and Joshua Morris (both 7&6) helped Staverton Park inflict the first defeat of the season on leaders Priors Hall as they came through 5-3 at home.

Narrow wins from Paul Hammond and Joe Spittlehouse in the opening couple 
of ties proved just as important as Andrew Swain (3&1) had the glory of confirming the team victory later on.

Trevor Shiells (2&1) and Ryan Genner (3&2) secured points for Priors Hall, before Michael Farr wrapped up the scoring by taking the final point on the closing hole.

Division Three

Kettering found their form at home to an under-strength Farthingstone as they completed a 7-1 success.

After losing at home to Rushden in the last outing, the hosts made a positive start as Richard Ashcroft (2&1), Mark Hastie (6&4) and Stuart Bell (3&2) grabbed early points.

Jordan Darnell sealed the Kettering win with victory on the 18th hole, Rob Stevenson was also successful down the last, while Jamie Ashcroft added another home point with a 4&3 success.

Junior League

Group C

Peterborough Milton’s third team moved through to the semi-finals with an unbeaten record after two excellent results against Cold Ashby and Northants County.

Points from Sam Ludlow (3&2), Charlie Armitage (6&5) and Ben MacKenzie (4&3) earned Milton a good 3-1 win at home to Ashby.

It got even better in the away trip to County as Ludlow (2&1), Mackenzie (4&3) and Michael Wood (3&2) sealed the victory, before Armitage confirmed the whitewash by clinching his tie on the 18th.

Group D

Leah Ribano was the standout performer for Kingsthorpe in their 3-1 home victory against Collingtree Park as she claimed the decisive point by the scoreline 4&3.

Dan Blackmore’s 2&1 win and Elijah Woodward’s success on the 18th hole had set up the victory for Kingsthorpe.