GOLF: Collingtree are Intermediate League champions
Collingtree Park were crowned Intermediate League champions for the second time as they defeated Kettering 5Â½-2Â½ in the final at Northampton GC.
The 2009 champions got off to a decent start as Trevor Twelftree (3&1) and Chris Malton (4&3) took the first two points, while Conor Rosling clinched the fourth game on the 17th hole.
Kettering, who beat number one seeds Northampton in the semi-finals last month, responded with a victory for Neil White on the 18th hole and a 3&2 success from Jordan Darnell.
Collingtree weren’t to be denied however as Aidan Rosling added another point, team skipper Neil Abery confirmed the team victory down the last, before Andy Castell halved the closing tie with Rob Stevenson.
Northants County moved a significant step closer to a third consecutive title as they relegated Overstone Park with a 5-3 away success.
In a thrilling contest when six of the eight games went the distance, Overstone looked in control early on as Peter Goddard and Jack Binch recorded wins, while Alan Freeman and Luke Barney collected a half apiece.
County had different ideas though as they won the 18th hole in all the last three matches to stay two points clear of Peterborough Milton, who they host on Sunday.
Milton meanwhile couldn’t cope on the same day with Wellingborough, who produced a ruthless display to maintain their first division status with a 6½-1½ home victory.
Needing a win to have any chance of staying in the top flight, Wellingborough got off to the perfect start as Richard Brown (3&2) and Chris Howes (4&3) took the opening two points.
The hosts stayed on the offensive as Adam Sherlock (5&4) and Tiger Adams (5&3) doubled the lead, before Mark Davis (5&4) confirmed the Wellingborough win.
Ryan Connolly (2&1) added another point, Jon Harris halved the penultimate tie with Tom Burgh, before Chris White grabbed a consolation point for Milton, who now need to beat County 6-2 to snatch the title.
Priors Hall clinched promotion into the top section with a 5½-2½ home victory against Brampton Heath, who are relegated.
Although Ian Abraham took the opening tie for the Corby club on the 17th, the match remained in the balance as the second game was halved, while Ricky Stockwell recorded Brampton’s first win with five holes to spare.
Stephen Field (3&2) added another point for the visitors, but any hope of a remarkable away success were quickly ended as Priors controlled the remaining four matches.
Ryan Jaffray (5&4), Mikey Chambers (8&6), Michael Farr (3&1) and Callum Farr (6&5) all picked up points as the hosts completed their second successive promotion.
Brampton’s hopes of avoiding the drop were ended by closest rivals Kingsthorpe as they moved out of range with a 5½-2½ home victory against Cold Ashby.
Leigh Woodward led by example with a 7&6 win, father and son Darren and Owen Watts were both successful, while skipper Mark Bazeley took the closing tie.
Three of the other four games finished all square as Kingsthorpe went three points clear of Brampton, who they face this weekend in their final away game.
Rushden remain in pole position in the race to gain promotion after securing a battling 4-4 draw at Collingtree Park, who maintained their status in the third tier.
Rob Price, Steve Alexander and Lewis Miller were all taken the distance, before adding away points to the 2&1 success from Callum Gant in the second tie.
Collingtree, who needed a positive result to have any chance of avoiding the drop, showed their fighting spirit as they won four of the last five games to grab a share of the spoils.
The draw proved enough to move them off the foot of the table on points difference from Kettering, who crashed to a 6-2 loss at title chasing Farthingstone in their last match.
Although the visitors won the opener, and also the sixth tie, a couple of narrow defeats against Ian Bell and Dave Jones in games two and four proved costly as the hosts kept alive their promotion ambitions.
Farthingstone can still snatch first place in the standings, but they need to win on their travels for the first time since June 2013 when they go to Rushden on Sunday.
Back to school for Evans after missing the cut
Ryan Evans will almost certainly need to go through European Tour Q School to regain his card for the 2017 season after he missed the cut in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in Scotland.
The Wellingborough pro didn’t make the last round by a couple of strokes after he shot 73 on the Old Course at St Andrews, 76 at Carnoustie and a battling 67 at Kingsbarns.
With the top 110 players regaining their cards for next year, Evans is unlikely to have the chance to improve his ranking of 132nd as the Tour rookie looks set to miss out on a place in the last three events in 2016.
Fellow county pro Gary Boyd, who lies 134th in the standings, still has one last chance of another year of European Tour golf as he will play in the Portuguese Masters later this month.
Boyd, who also missed the cut in Scotland, needs a top five finish next week to guarantee a fifth season on the main tour, otherwise he will join Evans for the qualifying stages in Spain early in November.
LET Access Series
Meghan MacLaren made a solid debut on the European Ladies Access Tour as she finished as the leading amateur in the WPGA Internation al Challenge after taking 10th at Stoke-by-Nayland, Essex.
The Wellingborough golfer, who has yet to join the professional ranks after enjoying a very successful amateur career, carded scores of 74, 70 and 69.