Northants first-team captain Jim Campbell and manager Laurie Linnell ended their tenures with a good result as the side drew 6-6 against champions-elect Lincolnshire at Overstone Park GC.
Despite a heavy loss in the opening tie, the hosts looked in great form in the morning pairs as Jamie Milligan and Michael Campbell (3&2) and Callum Farr and Harry Woan (4&3) recorded wins, before Miles Mudge and Matthew Myers romped to an 8&7 victory.
Woan gave Northants the perfect start to the singles by beating England international Simon Richardson 5&4, but the visitors replied with two convincing wins.
Milligan restored the home side’s two-point lead with a birdie on the 15th hole, but defeats on the 18th for Campbell and Farr, whose opponent birdied the last two holes, levelled up the match.
Although Mudge lost the last game 3&2, Northants deservedly grabbed a share of the spoils as Myers birdied the 17th hole before closing out his victory down the last.
Northants finished with two wins and one draw from their five outings in the Anglian League this season as unbeaten Lincolnshire clinched the title.
The county second team had little to celebrate from their final outing as they crashed to a 9½-2½ defeat, their fourth of the season, in the reverse fixture at Spalding GC.
Tom Burgh and Mike Chambers provided the only highlight as they fought back from five down at the turn in the morning pairs to grab an astonishing victory down the 18th.
Northamptonshire won the Handicap section of the Midland South Finals as they defeated Oxfordshire in a play-off at Temple GC.
Ashleigh Critchley (Kettering) was successful in her tie, before Jade Roberts (Peterborough Milton) lost a tight game to leave the contest all square with one match to play.
Although Katie Amos (Northants County) drew her game, she managed to seal the team victory on the first extra hole.
Northampton moved two points clear at the top of the table with a battling 4½-3½ home victory against already-relegated Brampton Heath.
Despite a comfortable win for Lloyd Skidmore and a 2&1 success for Dean Roberts, the hosts needed to scrap for the other points as Brampton’s Matt Smith and Nick Herridge enjoyed good victories.
With Andy Limbert (Northampton) edging past Stephen Field on the 18th hole, all of the remaining three games also went the distance.
On each occasion the home player managed to grab a share of the spoils as Ben Horgan halved with Stephen Holt, Darren Matthews drew with Andy Sewell, while Ross Skidmore sealed the team victory after finishing level with Ben Jones in the final tie.
Although Northampton sit two points clear, they will almost certainly need to get something from their last match at defending champions Northants County later this month to secure the title.
Kingsthorpe and Overstone Park collected positive results in their final group matches at Collingtree Park GC to set up last four ties with Northampton and Wellingborough, who beat Cold Ashby to progress as the top seeds.
The semi-finals will take place at Cold Ashby GC on Sunday, September 20.
Needing victory to progress through to the semis, Kingsthorpe booked their place in devastating fashion as they thrashed previously unbeaten Northampton 6½-1½.
Kris Spence (5&4) got the team off to the ideal start, before Harry Barrett (2&1), Simon Kerr (3&1) and Kev Purkis (3&2) added further points.
Although Northampton’s Sam Gilkes walked in with a big victory under his belt, it proved to be little consolation as Steve Jackson confirmed the Kingsthorpe win on the 17th hole.
With the two sides set to meet again in the last four later this month, Leigh Woodward halved with James Aris (Northampton), while Paul Croxford wrapped up the scoring with a 2&1 success in the final tie.
Overstone Park grabbed the last semi-final spot as they held their closest rivals Kettering to a 4-4 draw.
Needing a big victory to qualify, Kettering got off to the perfect start as Rob Aarts took the opening tie 3&2 and Mark Hastie doubled the lead with a 4&3 success in game two.
Overstone’s response was decisive as Phil Gardner took the third game on the 17th hole, before Lewis Hill, Jim Tricklebank and Billy Beard all recorded 4&2 wins in the next three matches.
With qualification then out of reach, Kettering’s determination to avoid defeat shone through in the last two matches as Andy Robinson and Jamie Taylor picked up points on the penultimate hole.
Wellingborough leapfrogged Northampton into first place in the standings after defeating Cold Ashby 6½-1½.
Although Ashby had a small chance of reaching the last four going into the last round of matches, that prospect never appeared likely as their opponents dominated the early ties.
Mark Coleman, Damian Magill and James Musson secured points for Wellingborough, while Dean Smith was the most impressive winner as he triumphed 8&6.
James Lovett replied for Ashby, but Gary Grimmitt and Robert Charter secured points for Wellingborough on the closing hole, while the other match was halved.
Northants County pro Paul Broadhurst was unsuccessful in his bid to record a second consecutive victory on the European Seniors Tour as he finished 57th in the Travis Perkins Masters at Woburn.
The former Ryder Cup player, who made a stunning start to life on the Seniors Tour with a debut victory in the Scottish Open the previous week, couldn’t rediscover his very best as he shot scores of 79, 77 and 73.
Colin Montgomerie, who played alongside Broadhurst in the opening two rounds, won the title for third successive year as he beat Ross Drummond in a play-off.
Northamptonshire youngster Ben Jones made an impressive England debut as he finished 15th out of 132 golfers in the Campionato International Maschile Under-16s tournament in Italy.
After carding rounds of 78 and 77 to make the cut, the Brampton Heath member shot the third best score of 71 on the third day, before finishing with a 75.
Peterborough Milton A will take on Staverton Park in the first Junior League semi-final at Kettering GC on Saturday.
The second last four tie sees Collingtree Park B face Peterborough Milton B at the same venue.
Collingtree Park’s A team came agonisingly close to snatching top spot from Staverton Park as they ended their season with an excellent 3½-½ away success against Cold Ashby.
Needing a 4-0 victory to have any chance of securing a place in the last four, Collingtree recorded wins from Conor Rosling, Jack McGuinness and Ryan McGuinness.
Unfortunately, Liam McNeela couldn’t complete the cleansweep as his match with Ashby’s Jamie Kerr ended all square.
Peterborough Milton’s A team go into the semi-finals as the only team with a perfect record after clinching Group B with three wins in three outings.
Peterborough Milton’s B team booked their place in the semi-finals on points difference after being given a fright at home by Oundle, who recorded a draw.
Following a dominant 3-1 home victory against unbeaten Kingsthorpe in their penultimate fixture, Milton struggled initially to reproduce their best against their local rivals.
After Oundle’s Peter Langsdale and Will Connelan won the first two games, the hosts took the final two points to grab top spot in the table.
Collingtree Park’s B team progressed through to the last four after winning their final two fixtures, at home to Northampton and away to Priors Hall.
In their home tie with Northampton, a narrow win from Tom Goodenough proved decisive as they eventually secured a 2½-1½ victory.
The away outing at Priors Hall was more comfortable as early wins from Mason Geddes and Jensen Parfitt sent the team on the way to a 4-0 success.
MGU Champion of Champions
Northamptonshire cemented their reputation as a county full of talented youngsters with a series of excellent performances in the MGU Champion of Champions at Melton Mowbray GC, Leicestershire.
Charlie Salter (Northants County) won the under-16 boys gross prize after finishing joint fourth alongside Dan Blackmore (Kingsthorpe), who led the net scoring in the under-14 section.
Northants County sisters Millie and Hattie Billson were also in top form as they finished second and fourth in the under-16 and under-14 age girls categories respectively.
Dave Wright was successful in the AIB Masters competition after shooting a collection of gross pars throughout the round to beat Stuart Robinson (net 69) by four shots.
With the comp counting as the sixth and final event in the Order of Merit, Neil Abery’s high finish meant he clinched top spot by four points from Conor Rosling.
Richard Miller lifted the Seniors Brian Crockford Trophy with a net 70, while Jayne Crofts clinched the Ladies Green Lady Trophy with a total of 33 points.
Steve Gee won the Pro Shop Stableford (41) by a single point from Colin Knibbs, with Paul Jordan in third on 38.
Steve Carter lifted the Christie Cup after posting a tally of 42 points the previous day.
Mike Grey dropped just two shots on the back nine to gain a countback verdict in the Vets September Stableford.
Gary Malin led the scoring in the Izzard Trophy as he won the competition by two strokes from Paul Ritchie after shooting a net 65.
Leading gross winner Jason Spence and high-handicapper Nigel Welford will also represent the club in the final.
Stuart Price and Bev Price were unstoppable in the Atrium Cup as they powered to victory with a magnificent total of 47 points.
The Harvest Bowl went to Nova Cauwels-Wigan and Sharon McAsey (net 66) by one stroke.
Gary Wray hit the winning trail twice within the space of one week as he led the way on Trilby Hats Day and in the August Stableford to see his handicap cut to 12.
A magnificent round of net 63 from Elliott Metcalfe clinched victory in the September Midweek Medal.
It was a lot closer in the Ladies Stableford as Fiona Crook beat Ann Eason and Rosemary Hardie on countback after all three shot 34 points.
Robbie Johnson compiled a round of net 65 to win the August Medal by two from Keith Brownless, with Bradley Jarvis in third on 68.
Countback was needed in the two most recent ladies comps as Helen Brownless (net 72) won the Hope Challenge from Alison Irvine, while Jan Forrester (74) edged out Margaret Hall in the Bronze Trophy.
Simon Turner combined with Thomas Goodman, Neil Goodman and Rod Goodman to card the leading tally of 70 points in the Bank Holiday Am-Am.
Andy James, Kate James, Adrian Hanrahan and Sally Hanrahan carded the same score to clinch the mixed prize.
Taylor Sargeant carded four birdies and an eagle on the third hole in a winning round of net 67 in the September Midweek Medal as he finished one stroke ahead of Alan Morris and Harry Woan.
Stephen Baker was on heat during the BBQ Bowl as he fired a winning tally of 41 points.
Adrian Hoare’s tally of 42 points sealed victory in the September White Tee Stableford as he finished one clear of James Rowlings, with Adrian Todd a further point back in third.
William Waller showed his potential in the Cold Ashby Junior Open as the Daventry member blasted a superb round of net 60 to win by one.
Three birdies on the back nine went a long way to securing a countback success for Anthony McCormack in the latest Weekend Bash as he edged out Adrian Miller with 42 points.