GOLF: County clinch a hat-trick of Scratch League titles
Northants County wrapped up their third successive Scratch League crown in clinical fashion as they thrashed title rivals Peterborough Milton 6Â½-1Â½ at home in their last match.
With the visitors needing a big win to snatch first place on points difference, County wasted no time in putting top spot out of reach as Harry Larkins and Anthony Byrne both strolled in with 6&4 wins under their belts.
Paul Harris added another home point, before Danny Roberts guaranteed at least a draw with a 2&1 success in the next tie.
Although James Walters pulled one back for Milton, a half for Tony Lord against Ian Wicks secured County’s 33rd title in the 95-year history of the team event.
The hosts were still determined to end their season on a high as Ben Jones beat Chris White 4&2, before Paul Godding completed the County scoring with victory over Tom Burgh down the last.
Peterborough finished runners-up as Overstone dropped out of the top division after just one season.
Brampton Heath’s disappointing season ended on a high as they recorded a 7-1 home victory against Kingsthorpe, whose only point came from Dan Blackmore.
The win came too late to save Brampton from the drop as they finished one point adrift of Kingsthorpe at the bottom.
Priors Hall, who recorded the only away victory in this division during the year at Brampton in June, had already clinched promotion.
Rushden will be playing in the second tier next season following a 5½-2½ home success against promotion rivals Farthingstone.
With David Johnstone receiving a walkover win in the opening tie, the hosts were always in control of the match as they took the next three points.
Ian Dickerson enjoyed a convincing 6&5 win, Callum Gant was successful with three holes to spare, before Steve Alexander added a 3&2 victory.
Although Jeremy Smith lost a tight game and Lewis Miller went down 5&4, Rushden team captain Chris Adams sealed the victory as he safely parred the last to secure the fifth point.
Rushden, who played in the top flight in 2012 before suffering a couple of relegations in recent years, completed the scoring with a half from Chris Ward as he won the 17th and 18th holes.
At the other end of the standings, Kettering suffered relegation as Stoke Albany replaced them in the third division.
Am-Am & Order of Merit
Priors Hall enjoyed a triple success on their own course in the last county event of the season as their members dominated the prize giving in the Am-Am.
Mickey Chambers clinched the 2016 NGL Order of Merit from club-mate Ryan Genner, while Callum Farr fired a brilliant score of 42 points to win the Amateur prize on the day.
Rob Draper, Paul Briggs and Tommy Byrne took the honours in the team comp as they bagged 89 points in partnership with Wellingborough’s Graham Bott, who finished runner-up in the amateur section with 41.
All competitors in the NGL Izzard Trophy will be hoping for better weather on Sunday after the annual event was originally postponed a fortnight ago due to very bad weather.
With a team of three players from 23 Northamptonshire golf clubs competing at Cold Ashby over 18 holes, Kingsthorpe will be the defending champions.
Salter to lead Northants boys into cup battle
Northamptonshire boys will be hoping to add another 2016 team title to their collection as a six-player side competes in the Midland Under-16 County Cup event at Great Barr GC on Sunday.
The county have happy memories of competing in Staffordshire after winning the Midland under-18s crown at Kidderminster earlier this season on their way to finishing third in the national finals.
England international Charlie Salter will head a strong line-up that includes Northants County club-mates Joe Quinn and Harry Oddy, Robin Williams (Peterborough Milton), Yeong Bin Lee (Northampton) and Max Faulkner (Wellingborough).
Northants ladies came up just short in their bid to retain the Midland Inter County Seniors Team Championship crown as they finished runners-up at Wellingborough.
With 16 teams taking part in the 2016 tournament the defending champions lost out by just a couple of strokes to Staffordshire.
The hosts had better luck in the individual as Wellingborough member Gill Snelson won the over-65’s prize, while club-mate Carol Gibbs was second in the overall with gross scores of 80 and 75.
Wellingborough pro Ryan Evans has one last chance to regain his European Tour card for next year after securing a spot in the Portugal Masters at Vilamoura this week.
Evans, who looked set to miss out before a number of players withdrew from the tournament last week, needs a top five finish to have any chance of definitely playing on the Tour in 2017.
With the leading 110 golfers on the Order of Merit obtaining full playing rights for the next year, the same applies for fellow county golfer Gary Boyd, who sits 136th - two places below Evans.
Northamptonshire golf fans of all ages, meanwhile, had the thrill of watching some of the biggest names in the game take part in the British Masters at The Grove GC in Hertfordshire last week.
Ryder Cup players Lee Westwood, Matt Fitzpatrick, Chris Wood and Andy Sullivan were amongst a field that also included former Ryder Cup players and captains Graeme McDowell, Luke Donald and Paul McGinley.