GOLF: New trophies up for grabs as youngsters bid for glory

County teenager Ben Jones was part of the England Boys team that beat Finland, Iceland and Germany, and drew with winners Spain, to finish third in the Costa Ballena Octagonal Match
County teenager Ben Jones was part of the England Boys team that beat Finland, Iceland and Germany, and drew with winners Spain, to finish third in the Costa Ballena Octagonal Match

New gross and net trophies will be up for grabs in the boys and girls categories of the 2018 Junior Order of Merit as young golfers have the opportunity to compete in a series of events this season.

Starting with a Junior Open at Collingtree Park on Good Friday, March 30, the Order of Merit includes the County Junior Championship, plus seven weekly Junior Opens over the summer.

Higher handicappers are being encouraged to take part in these fun competitions with all the Junior Opens including nine-hole events for those younger golfers.

A nine-hole Order of Merit will run alongside the 18-hole Order of Merit, with the leading boys and girls from both qualifying for the Moulton College Open Grand Final at Northants County in October.

Anyone wishing to play in the event at Collingtree Park is advised to contact Rob Clayton on

England Boys

Ben Jones bagged two wins out of two on the final day as England maintained their unbeaten record in the Costa Ballena Octagonal Match by defeating Finland 6½-2½ to finish in third place in Spain.

The Northants County member combined well with Tom Sloman to grab a 3&2 victory in the morning foursomes, before taking the lead singles game by the same scoreline.

England had only just missed out on the final the previous day as they were pipped to first place in the Blue Group on points difference by Spain, who went on to defeat the Netherlands in the showpiece match.

With Jones completing an impressive 5&4 singles success as England drew with Spain on the opening day, the team’s wins against Iceland and Germany on days two and three weren’t quite enough to grab top spot.

Ladies European Tour

Meghan MacLaren begins her first full season on the Ladies European Tour this week as she competes in the first of four events within the space of five weeks in Australia.

The Wellingborough golfer, who secured her LET card by winning the Access Series Order of Merit last year, starts with the Oates Vic Open on the Beach and Creek Courses at the 13th Beach Golf Links in Victoria.

MacLaren is in action a week later in the Actewagl Canberra Classic, before playing in the Australian Ladies Classic Bonville at Bonville Golf Resort on February 22.

The 23-year-old, who narrowly missed out on grabbing a card on the LPGA Tour at the final qualifying stage, is also in the field for the New South Wales Women’s Open, which tees off at the start of March.

Leading county professional Charley Hull, meanwhile, struggled for consistency in difficult weather conditions at the Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic as she finished 26th on Paradise Island.

With the event reduced to three rounds due to the severe winds, the Kettering golfer mixed 15 birdies with a collection of dropped shots as she carded scores of 74, 72 and 72.


Annie Goodchild, Diane Heard and Liz Mulliner were dancing with delight following the Ladies 18-hole Waltz Stableford after shooting the leading score of 54 points.

The trio finished an incredible an incredible 11 points clear of Maureen Connor, Carole Page and Joan Dunn, who nudged one ahead of Sue Avison, Susan Kreft and Vivian Jones.


Gary Simpson selected the ideal partner in the second Winter Series Pairs event as he combined with his son Josh to smash a magnificent winning tally of 52 points.

With the course playing shorter than normal, the duo took full advantage as they finished six clear of Kevin Larham and Bob Erskine, with 2017 Club Captain Samish Patel and David Messom a further points off the lead.

Hellidon Lakes

Ted Craig and David Knight produced two outstanding individual winning scores in the latest couple of competitions of the Tigers Merit League at Hellidon Lakes.

Craig bagged 42 points to win the 11th round by six from Anthony Wade, while Knight was only marginally less impressive as his tally of 41 earned him a three point success from Jim Robinson. Peter Bosworth was third on both occasions.

Staverton Park

Cliff Pooley and Ian Lucas remain the players to beat in Seniors Club competitions at Staverton Park after both recorded two victories in the month. Pooley won the 12th round of the Seniors Front Nine Competition with 20 points over nine holes, before clinching the January Stableford over 18 holes.

Lucas, who was successful in the Front Nine competition in the 11th round, showed his capabilities over the inward stretch this week as he beat Tom Langhorn and Peter Hallford by a single point.


Ivan Lester’s total of 42 points secured first prize in the third Winter Stableford at Daventry as he finished three ahead of Alf Chessum. Third place went to Tyrone Power with 37.