GOLF: Lavender and Matthews battle to bag Northampton a draw
Northampton began the season with a battling performance in Group D of the NGL Junior League as they secured a 2-2 draw at reigning champions Peterborough Milton A.
Although Rylan Thomas and Euan Herson bagged home points with holes to spare, Northampton duo Ben Lavender and Jordan Matthews grabbed a share of the team spoils with wins down the last.Local knowledge proved crucial for Priors Hall against Wellingborough as they secured a 3-1 victory in their opening contest.Jake Sheridan grabbed the first point on the 18th, Alex Rowlatt doubled the home lead in the next tie, before Adam Kilby wrapped up the win with a 3&2 success in game four. Wellingborough’s point came from Thomas Ray.In Group C, Thomas Sandiford’s 4&3 victory and a one-hole success for Finn Hamill made the difference for Northants County B as they got the better of Staverton Park 2½-1½.NGL Scratch LeagueDivision OneWellingborough took a significant step towards their first title since 1984 with a one-point home success against defending champions Northants County.Despite recording the only away victories in the top flight at Priors Hall and Peterborough Milton, the hosts made a slow start as County took games one, three and four.Wellingborough emphasised their strength of character as Gary Grimmitt, Richard Brown, Jon Harris and Ryan Connolly collected big wins, before Mark Davis confirmed the home victory by halving the last tie.Milton collected their second victory of the campaign as they recorded a series of comfortable individual wins in a 6-2 home success against Priors Hall.Division TwoKingsthorpe recorded their fifth win in five outings this season as they defeated Cold Ashby 6½-1½ at home.
With Jack Walding, Jason Spence and Gary Hardy and Matt Landers taking the opening four points, the only debate was whether the hosts could record a whitewash success.Although those hopes disappeared when Dan Blackmore lost to Dennis Mathers, everyone else contributed as the team moved to within one point of promotion.Division ThreeCollingtree Park made it back-to-back 7-1 home victories as they thrashed Stoke Albany to go top of the standings.After beating Kettering the previous month, Collingtree made a confident start as Ray Connolly, Liam Davies, Arjun Shah and Neil Abery secured big wins.Trevor Twelftree, Conor Rosling and Andy Castell added further home points, before Graeme Eadie avoided the whitewash by winning the 18th hole for Stoke Albany.British Open & Solheim CupCharley Hull cemented her status as one of the key golfers in the 2017 Solheim Cup team by finishing 16th in the Ricoh Women’s British Open at Kingsbarns GC.The Kettering golfer was confirmed by European team captain Annika Sörenstam as one of the 12 players in the squad after shooting rounds of 68, 71, 71 and 70 over the weekend.With the match against the USA taking place at Des Moines GC in Iowa from August 18, the 21-year-old will be looking to maintain her brilliant record in the event of six wins in eight games.English golfers Georgia Hall, Florentyna Parker, Mel Reid and British Open runner-up Jodi Ewart Shadoff, who partnered Hull in her rookie appearance four years ago, also made the team.European Challenge TourRyan Evans moved a step closer to regaining his European Tour card for 2018 as he climbed up to fifth in the Challenge Tour rankings after taking eighth in the Finnish Challenge event.With the leading 15 players in the end-of-season charts gaining full playing rights on the main Tour next year, the Wellingborough pro secured his third successive top 10 finish at VierumÓ“ki GC.NGL Handicap LeagueBrampton Heath qualified for the last four after Northants County did their neighbours a favour with a superb 10-4 victory at closest rivals Hellidon Lakes in Group A.Scott Jelley and Antony Elderton (three holes) and Ryan Grant and Neil Taylor (four holes) were the biggest away winners.Group BCold Ashby booked a semi-final spot in clinical fashion as they made it seven wins in seven matches by beating Delapre at home and Daventry away.Karl Byron and Jonathan Smith (five holes) impressed in the second tie against Delapre, while James Needham and Duncan Tucker wrapped up a 24-0 victory with a six-hole success in the last game.With qualification already confirmed, the team followed it up with a comeback win at Daventry as they took the last four games in a 10-7 victory.Group CPriors Hall fell just short of their bid to book a place in the last four as a 12-1 home victory against leaders Oundle meant they missed out on top spot on points difference.Needing to win by a margin of 14 points, the Corby club looked on course when Sean Aitchison and Callum Milne gave them a 12-0 lead, only for the visitors to grab a half and a one-point win in the remaining games.Oundle came into the last round of fixtures in prime position after beating closest rivals Kettering 10-7 at home. Denis Price and Martin Camp’s six-hole success in the opening tie sent the hosts on their way.Group DWellingborough completed an unsuccessful qualifying campaign on a high thanks to a battling 7-5 victory at Silverstone.With Collingtree having already guaranteed top spot in their final match, Wellingborough took second place on the back of wins from Dave Bailey and Charlie Higgins (two holes) and Ashley Connolly and David Hawkins (five holes).NGL Hollingsworth TrophySimon Purkiss and Stephen Smail earned a convincing pairs win for Peterborough Milton as the team beat Farthingstone 3-2 in the semi-final at Northants County GC.Northampton defeated Kingsthorpe by the same scoreline to secure their place in the final on Sunday, August 27. It will be held at Overstone Park GC.